Novak Djokovic won a record-extending 10th Australian Open and a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam men’s title by using all of his talent to see off Stefanos Tsitsipas.
Serbia’s Djokovic started strongly and dug deep in the second set on his way to a 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5) victory.
The 35-year-old, who has now drawn level with Rafael Nadal in major wins, will return to the world number one ranking.
Greece’s Tsitsipas, 24, however continues his wait for a first Grand Slam triumph.
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“I have to say this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I have ever played in my life considering the circumstances, not playing last year, coming back this year,” said Djokovic.
“I try to pinch myself and really live through these moments. It’s a long journey. Only the team and the family knows what we have been through in the last four or five weeks.
“I would say this is probably the biggest victory of my life, considering those circumstances.”
Tsitsipas lost to Djokovic in his first major final at the 2021 French Open after relinquishing a two-set lead but, this time in Melbourne, he was always chasing the match.
In the few precious opportunities he had to threaten Djokovic – notably a set point to level the match at one set all – the third seed was unable to take them.
Djokovic has not lost at Melbourne Park since 2018 – a streak spanning a record 28 matches in the men’s singles.
He has regained the crown which he was unable to defend last year after being deported from Australia following a row over his Covid-19 vaccination status.
Tsitsipas showed resilience to save two championship points but Djokovic took his third chance – this time on his own serve – when his opponent hit a return long.
Djokovic turned to his team and family members – including mother Dijana, although father Srdjan did not appear to be present – standing motionless before pointing to his head and his heart.
After climbing into the box to celebrate with them, he broke into tears as the magnitude of his achievement hit him and continued sobbing under his towel when he returned to his chair.