Novak Djokovic admitted on Sunday that coming to Australia with a leg injury was a calculated risk which paid off as he won his 10th title at Melbourne Park.
The Serb who returns to the top of the ATP rankings after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) collapsed in tears of relief and joy after concluding his miracle run to his 22nd Grand Slam title in imperious style.
As he climbed into his coach and family box at the Laver arena, the 35-year-old said he was overcome by built-up emotion at the tournament where he has dominated.
“When I went into my box, I just emotionally collapsed there and teared up, especially with my mother and my brother, when I gave them a hug.
“Up to that moment I had not allowed myself to be distracted with things off the court or whatever was happening in dealing with an injury.
“Things happening off the court (his father’s picture with fans bearing a Putin flag) could easily have been a big disturbance to my focus, to my game.”
The joint leader along with fellow icon Rafael Nadal in the career Grand Slam title sweepstakes said he is not done yet.
“I’m motivated to win as many Slams as possible. At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor, why I
“It’s a privilege to be part of the discussion as one of the greatest players of all time. If people see me this way, of course it’s very flattering because I know that I give as much effort and energy into trying to win slams as anybody else.”
Djokovic was competing in Australia a year after being detained and deported for entering without the required jabs – which he is still refusing to ever take.
“Coming into Australia was something I was looking forward to; I honestly feel great in Australia. My results are a testament to that.
“I really wanted to be back here. I wanted to play. Knowing my records at the Australian Open, I always like my chances.
“But I didn’t know how I was going to be received by the people. But overall it was a very positive experience,” said the winner of the pre-Open Adelaide title who is undefeated so far in 2023.
“I don’t know how many more years I’m going to play or how many more Slams I’m going to play.
“It doesn’t depend only on my body. It’s extremely important for me to be, of course, first to have the support and love from the close ones, and ability to go and play and keep the balance with the private life.
“Physically I can keep myself fit. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is. But I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let’s see how far I go.”
Main photo:- Australian Open 2023 Novak Djokovic (SRB) celebrates with his family in his player box after he wins Men’s singles final by Roger Parker International Sports Fotos Ltd