Welcome to Sportstar’s highlights of the men’s singles final of the 2023 Australian Open between Serbia’s Novak Djokovic and Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece. This was Nihit Sachdeva taking you through the action as it unfolded at the Rod Laver Arena in Melbourne.
That’s it from the 2023 Australian Open. From hard court, the tennis world will move to clay for the next Grand Slam - the French Open - in four months. Do join us for live coverage. Till then, take care and stay safe!
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Djokovic: “ I am touched by Stefanos’ words, thank you for being respectful. I acknowledge your effort, definitely not your last Grand Slam final, you have a lot more time in front of you.”
“This is one of the most challenging tournaments I ever played in my life, considering the circumstances. I want to thank all of the people that made me feel welcome, that made me feel comfortable to be in Melbourne, in Australia.”
“... Only the team & family knows what we’ve been through in the last 4-5 weeks, and this is probably the biggest victory of my life, considering the circumstances.”
“We (Greece and Serbia) are two relatively small countries that didn’t really have a tennis tradition, we didn’t have too many players to look up to.....The message for any young tennis player around the world that’s watching this now and dreaming to be where Stefanos and I are now: Dream big, dare to dream, because everything is possible. Don’t let anybody take away the dream......I actually think that the more disadvantaged childhood you have, the more challenges you have, the stronger you become.
Now, the 10-time champion Djokovic, wearing a white jacket with the number 22 on it, receives the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup from Rosewall. Djokovic is the third oldest Australian Open champion after Rosewall and Federer.
Tsitsipas: “I have had the privilege to play lots of high intensity matches but I would like to stay it again, Novak brings the best out of me. He’s one of the greatest in our sport, I think he’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet. I’d like to thank you for pushing our sport so far.”
“Novak, I don’t know what to say. I think it speaks to yourself, what you have achieved. It’s all in the numbers.”
First up, Stefanos Tsitsipas receives the runner-up trophy from Ken Rosewall, the oldest ever Australian Open champion.
Presentation ceremony starting shortly.
The entire Djokovic family bursts into tears. After the deportation saga of last year, Novak Djokovic gets redemption in the most perfect way possible. Djokovic is a 10-time Australian Open champion, a 22-time Grand Slam champion and once again, the World No. 1.
THIRD SET (* denotes server)
Tiebreaker (Djokovic 7-5 Tsitsipas): Body serve from Djokovic works well - 1-0. Forehand return winner down the line from Djokovic on second serve. Inside-out forehand from Tsitsipas lands wide and he is down 0-3. Heavy backhand from the Greek and fourth point in a row for the Serbian. Tsitsipas nets the one-handed backhand. Djokovic leads 5-0. Backhand slice from the Serbian goes wide and Tsitsipas finally opens his account in the tiebreak before the change of ends. Service winner from Tsitsipas - 5-2. Tsitsipas hangs on in a brutal 26-shot rally and eventually hits a crosscourt dipping backhand, Djokovic nets the volley - 5-3. Forehand winner down the line from Djokovic and he has three championship points with the first two on the Greek’s serve - 6-3. Tsitsipas saves one as Djokovic hits a crosscourt backhand return wide - 6-4. Tsitsipas saves another with a forehand winner after a big first serve - 6-5. Third championship point but this time on the Serbian’s serve. Forehand shot from Tsitsipas goes way beyond the baseline! Novak Djokovic is a 10-time Australian Open champion.
Djokovic 6-6 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas, for the second time, serving to stay in the set and match. Djokovic puts pressure on Tsitsipas with his excellent retrieving skills but somehow, the third-seeded Greek stays calm before Djokovic himself ends up hitting a backhand long. Forehand from Tsitsipas goes wide but he leads 30-15. Ace wide into the ad court. Two game points for Tsitsipas. Gun crosscourt forehand return from Djokovic, Tsitsipas gets the forehand in in reply but Djokovic closes the net and the Greek hits a forehand long - 40-30. T ace to hold serve and take this set into a tiebreak.
Djokovic* 6-5 Tsitsipas - T ace from Djokovic and he is up 30-0. Wide serve into the deuce court and Tsitsipas hits the forehand return long. Love hold.
Djokovic 5-5 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas to serve to stay in the set and match. Djokovic hits a crosscourt forehand winner but Tsitsipas is up 30-15. Can he close this game? Tsitsipas puts a little too much power in the backhand down the line and it is beyond the baseline - 30-all. Wide serve into the deuce court followed by a forehand down the middle. Tsitsipas has a game point at 40-30. Ace wide into the ad court. Tsitsipas holds.
Djokovic* 5-4 Tsitsipas - Djokovic hits a brutal backhand down the line, Tsitsipas somehow gets to it but he can’t get to what follows next as it is a sublime drop shot. Tsitsipas nets a forehand. Djokovic leads 40-0 and has three game points. Backhand winner down the line from Djokovic to wrap up the game. Love hold.
Djokovic 4-4 Tsitsipas* - Crucial service game for Tsitsipas. Kick serve down the T followed by a forehand down the line winner - Tsitsipas up 30-0. A T ace and he has three game points. Love hold.
Djokovic* 4-3 Tsitsipas - A T ace from Djokovic and he is up 30-0. Love hold.
Djokovic 3-3 Tsitsipas* - A drop shot, this time from Tsitsipas, and Djokovic has no chance to get to it. Faulty drop shot in the next rally, Djokovic gets to it and hits a crosscourt backhand but Tsitsipas sticks out his racquet to hit a backhand volley and Djokovic hits a forehand lob long - 30-0. Double fault from the third-seeded Greek - 30-15. Tsitsipas hits a thunderous backhand winner down the line to go 40-15 up. Closes the game with a forehand down the line.
Djokovic* 3-2 Tsitsipas - Djokovic serving. Up 40-0 in no time. A superb drop shot from the Serbian to close the game. Love hold.
Djokovic 2-2 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas nets a simple backhand volley and is now down 15-30. This is quickly going out of his hands. Ace wide into the ad court - 30-all. Patient play from Tsitsipas and he wins the point with a forehand winner down the line to go 40-30 up. Tsitsipas holds.
Djokovic* 2-1 Tsitsipas - Tsitsipas gets to 30-40 after drawing two backhand errors from the Serbian but then nets a forehand crosscourt return in the next rally. Djokovic holds.
Djokovic 1-1 Tsitsipas* - A bit of luck goes Tsitsipas’ way as the drop shot takes a deflection off the net chord and drops quicker than Djokovic expected. Second serve, wide into the ad court, and Djokovic comes up with a backhand return winner down the line - 30-all. Tsitsipas seemed to have won the point with a crushing backhand down the line but Djokovic gets the return in and Tsitsipas hits a forehand on the wrong side of the inner sideline. Break point for Djokovic at 40-30. Wide serve into the ad court followed by a forehand down the line from Tsitsipas - deuce. A gorgeous backhand winner down the line from Djokovic to come on top after an 18-shot rally. Another break point and this time, he converts as Tsitsipas hits a crosscourt forehand wide. Djokovic breaks back!!
Djokovic* 0-1 Tsitsipas - Djokovic serving first in the third set. The Serbian begins with a double fault. Crosscourt forehand from Tsitsipas finds the inner sideline and he is 30-0 up. Is there life left in this contest? Tsitsipas is complaining to the chair umpire about the reflection of floodlights affecting his vision. Not sure anything can be done about that. Two break points for the Greek as his deep backhand return lands right at Djokovic’s feet and the Serbian’s backhand in reply is long. Djokovic saves one break point as Tsitsipas misjudges the trajectory of the shot from the Serbian and hits a backhand long. Djokovic hits a crosscourt backhand wide and believe it or not, Tsitsipas breaks!!!!
Djokovic just one set away from history.
SECOND SET (* denotes server)
Tiebreaker (Djokovic 7-4 Tsitsipas): Djokovic patiently stays in the rally and Tsitsipas overhits a forehand to hand a mini-break advantage. Spinning backhand down the line from the Greek forces Djokovic to hit a defensive lob and Tsitsipas wins the point with a smash into the open court - 1-1. Big first serve down the T followed by a forehand down the line - Djokovic leads 2-1. Yet again, a mistimed forehand from Tsitsipas goes long and Djokovic gets the mini-break back to go 3-1 up. Tsitsipas nets an inside-out forehand and that’s probably that for him in this set. Djokovic leads 4-1 and is up by a double mini-break. Tsitsipas gets one mini-break back as Djokovic makes an unforced backhand error - 4-2. A double fault from Djokovic - 4-3. Back on serve. This is quite extraordinary. Body serve from Tsitsipas and Djokovic nets the forehand return - 4-all. Crosscourt forehand from Tsitsipas goes long and Djokovic leads 5-4 with the next two serves. Backhand from Tsitsipas goes long and Djokovic has two set points with the first one on his own serve. Wide serve into the deuce court and Tsitsipas’ crosscourt forehand finds the net. Djokovic wins the second set 7-6(4)!!!
Djokovic* 6-6 Tsitsipas - For the second time, Djokovic serving to stay in the set. Two reckless forehand errors from the third-seeded Greek and Djokovic is 30-0 up. Make it 40-0 courtesy of a powerful and non-returnable backhand down the line. A double fault from Djokovic as he twice goes for the T but misses by quite some distance. Still, two game points. A sudden injection of pace in Tsitsipas’ crosscourt forehand and Djokovic nets the backhand return - 40-30. Tsitsipas nets a crosscourt forehand return. That’s that. Tiebreaker, here we go.
Djokovic 5-6 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas up 40-0 in quick time. One more point and he guarantees himself a tiebreak. And he does with a T ace!
Djokovic* 5-5 Tsitsipas - Djokovic serving to stay in the set. Djokovic hits a regular backhand shot long - 15-all. Tsitsipas with brilliant backhand slice return to get into the rally before injecting pace into a forehand shot which draws a heavy forehand from the Serbian - 15-30. Tsitsipas hits a crosscourt forehand wide - 30-all. Backhand return from Tsitsipas lands on the T serve and Djokovic, somehow, hits a backhand down the line wide. Set point for Tsitsipas. A clutch forehand down the line winner from the Serbian, just when he needed it - deuce. Tsitsipas overcooks a backhand return and now, Djokovic has a game point. Inside-out forehand return from Tsitsipas goes wide. Djokovic holds!
Djokovic 4-5 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas begins the service game with a forehand winner down the line. Follows it up with a T ace. Gun crosscourt forehand return from Djokovic sets up the point and he eventually draws a weak backhand from Tsitsipas which only finds the net. Tsitsipas holds as Djokovic hits a backhand long.
Djokovic* 4-4 Tsitsipas - A T ace from Djokovic - 15-all. Djokovic shanks a regular forehand and is now down 15-30. Tsitsipas does everything he needed to do to construct the point, forcing Djokovic wide and then hitting a forehand down the line but the nine-time champion hangs on, hits a dipping backhand pass and Tsitsipas nets the backhand volley - 40-30. Djokovic holds!
Djokovic 3-4 Tsitsipas* - Gorgeous backhand winner down the line from Tsitsipas - 15-0. Second serve, Djokovic simply hits a forehand return winner down the line - 15-all. Wide serve, Djokovic hits a crosscourt forehand return and Tsitsipas hits the forehand down the line wide - 15-30. Pressure on the third seed now. A 15-shot rally, Tsitsipas does well to hang on before hitting a crosscourt backhand and Djokovic falls down while hitting a crosscourt backhand return which hits the net. Tsitsipas up 40-30 with an overhead smash. Djokovic stays in the rally with a brilliant defensive lob, then anticipates the overhead smash correctly and eventually, Tsitsipas puts a simple backhand volley wide - deuce. Inside-out forehand volley winner from Tsitsipas just catches the inner sideline. Tsitsipas holds after a dipping backhand shot from him draws a backhand volley from Djokovic which spins too much and lands on the wrong side of the inner sideline.
Djokovic* 3-3 Tsitsipas - This time, the drop shot from Tsitsipas works as it touches the top of the tape and dies on Djokovic’s side before he can get to it - 0-15. Big first serve down the T from Djokovic - 30-15. Strong wide serve into the ad court - Djokovic up 40-15. Djokovic holds.
Djokovic 2-3 Tsitsipas* - Two careless forehand errors from Tsitsipas and he is 15-30 down. Can’t afford to drop serve. End to end rally and Djokovic looks to go for the kill with a forehand winner down the line but sends it wide. Wide serve into the deuce court and Djokovic’s return never arrives - 40-30. A double from the third-seeded Greek - deuce. Djokovic has a chance now. Second serve, into the body, and Djokovic nets the backhand return. Game point for Tsitsipas. Inside-out forehand winner from Tsitsipas to close a crucial game.
Djokovic* 2-2 Tsitsipas - Tsitsipas up 30-15 on Djokovic’s serve after the Serbian hits a crosscourt backhand wide. Tsitsipas tries to stay in the rally with a defensive lob but it is not far enough and Djokovic finishes it with an overhead smash - 30-all. Tsitsipas completely mistimes a forehand - 40-30. Wide ace into the ad court. Djokovic holds.
Djokovic 1-2 Tsitsipas* - If Djokovic can do it, so can Tsitsipas. Love hold.
Djokovic* 1-1 Tsitsipas - Djokovic responds with a hold to love.
Djokovic 0-1 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas begins the second set with a comfortable service hold. That should him give some much needed confidence.
FIRST SET (* denotes server)
Djokovic* 6-3 Tsitsipas - Djokovic serving for the opening set. Big first serve down the T, gets the short ball and finishes with a forehand down the line winner - Djokovic 15-0. Tsitsipas nets a forehand after doing well to get the return in on first serve - 30-0. Depth on Tsitsipas’ forehand return during the 12-shot rally forces Djokovic to net the forehand in response. Wide serve into the ad court and Tsitsipas hits the backhand return long. Two set points. Wide serve into the deuce court and Tsitsipas hits the crosscourt forehand wide. Djokovic wins the opening set.
Djokovic 5-3 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas to serve to stay in the set. Wide serve into the deuce court and Djokovic hits the forehand down the line return long - 30-15. A T ace takes the Greek to 40-15. Another T ace to close the game.
Djokovic* 5-2 Tsitsipas - Djokovic up 30-0 quickly. Belts a forehand down the line after getting a short ball from a Tsitsipas backhand return - 40-15. T ace to close the game.
Djokovic 4-2 Tsitsipas* - An important service game for Tsitsipas. Tsitsipas sets up the point with a wide serve and follows it up with a forehand down the line but Djokovic gets to it and hits a crosscourt backhand pass. Brilliant crosscourt forehand return from Djokovic on wide serve and Tsitsipas nets the forehand - 15-30. A T ace from Tsitsipas - 30-all. A rare forehand error from the Serbian and Tsitsipas has a game point. Ace wide into the ad court to close the game.
Djokovic* 4-1 Tsitsipas - Tsitsipas tries to up the pace but ends up netting a forehand return - 30-0. Crosscourt backhand return from Tsitsipas goes well wide. Three game points. Djokovic misses the baseline by a whisker as he goes for a backhand winner down the line - 40-15. Deep return from Tsitsipas on wide serve from Djokovic and the Serbian, out of position, hits a forehand wide - 40-30. Tsitsipas goes for a drop shot early into the rally, Djokovic reads it well in time to rush to the net and hit a simple crosscourt forehand winner. Djokovic consolidates the break.
Djokovic 3-1 Tsitsipas* - First proper rally (25 shots) of the match and it is Tsitsipas who comes out on top with a forehand volley winner - 15-all. Another longish rally and this time, Tsitsipas overcooks the forehand down the line - 15-30. Wide service winner into the ad court - 30-all. Second serve allows Djokovic to get into the rally and draw an error on the crosscourt forehand from Tsitsipas. Break point. Double fault. Djokovic breaks!
Djokovic* 2-1 Tsitsipas - T serve from Djokovic and Tsitsipas’ forehand return lands just wide - 30-0. Wide serve into the deuce court and Tsitsipas hits the crosscourt forehand return wide - 40-0. Backhand winner down the line - Love hold for the Serbian.
Djokovic 1-1 Tsitsipas* - Tsitsipas serving now. An 11-shot rally and Djokovic wins the opening point to go 15-0 up as Tsitsipas nets the forehand down the line. Tsitsipas shanks a forehand and he is down 0-30. Ace wide into the deuce court and the 24-year-old Greek wins his first point of the final on his serve. One-handed backhand down the line from Tsitsipas goes long and at 15-40, he faces two break points. Big kick serve down the middle and Djokovic is unable to send the ball back with his backhand return. Djokovic overhits a crosscourt forehand return during the rally and it is deuce. Djokovic nets a crosscourt backhand return and Tsitsipas has a game point. Ace wide into the ad court to hold serve.
Djokovic* 1-0 Tsitsipas - Warm up is done. Finals time! Djokovic to serve first. Second serve, wide into the deuce court, and Tsitsipas hits the forehand return down the line wide. Ace wide into the deuce court to go 40-0 up. Djokovic mishits an inside-out backhand - 15-40. Crosscourt forehand winner from Djokovic to close the game.
2:07PM - Here we go. Tsitsipas and Djokovic make their way through the ‘Walk of Champions’ to the Rod Laver Arena.
2PM - This is what they are fighting for!
1:45PM - Just 15 minutes to go before the two finalists step on the battlefield.
1:40PM - With Djokovic (35 years 252 days) and Tsitsipas (24 years 170 days) contesting the final this year, this match represents the largest age gap between players in an Australian Open men’s singles final in the Open Era.
1:35PM - Tsitsipas is looking to become the sixth different player to beat Djokovic in a Grand Slam final. Out of the 32 Grand Slam finals Djokovic has played, he has lost only 11 - Federer (1), Nadal (5), Murray (2), Wawrinka (2) and Medvedev (1).
1:30PM - Djokovic is bidding to win his 93rd Tour-level title and claim sole ownership of 4th place on the Open Era list for most Tour-level titles won, ahead of Nadal. Only Jimmy Connors (109 Tour-level titles), Federer (103) and Ivan Lendl (94) have won more Tour-level titles in the Open Era than Djokovic.
1:25PM - Djokovic is fighting for his 10th Australian Open title which will make him only the third player in history to have clinched a single Major 10 or more times. Rafael Nadal has won the French Open 14 times while Margaret Court is an 11-time Australian Open champion.
1:20PM - How Tsitsipas has reached the final this year:-
- ⦿ Semifinal: Beat Karen Khachanov (RUS) 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3
- ⦿ Quarterfinal: Beat Jiri Lehecka (CZE) 6-3, 7-6(2), 6-4
- ⦿ Fourth Round: Beat Jannik Sinner (ITA) 6-4, 6-4, 3-6, 4-6, 6-3
- ⦿ Third Round: Beat Tallon Griekspoor (NED) 6-2, 7-6(5), 6-3
- ⦿ Second Round: Beat Rinky Hijikata (AUS) 6-3, 6-0, 6-2
- ⦿ First Round: Beat Quentin Halys (FRA) 6-3, 6-4, 7-6(6)
1:15PM - How Djokovic has reached the final this year:-
- ⦿ Semifinal: Beat Tommy Paul (USA) 7-5, 6-1, 6-2
- ⦿ Quarterfinal: Beat Andrey Rublev (RUS) 6-1, 6-2, 6-4
- ⦿ Fourth Round: Beat Alex de Minaur (AUS) 6-2, 6-1, 6-2
- ⦿ Third Round: Beat Grigor Dimitrov (BUL) 7-6 (7), 6-3, 6-4
- ⦿ Second Round: Beat Enzo Couacaud (FRA) 6-1, 6-7 (5), 6-2, 6-0
- ⦿ First Round: Beat Roberto Carballes Baena (ESP) 6-3, 6-4, 6-0
1:10PM - Previous meetings:
2022 ATP Finals (Round Robin Stage): Djokovic won 6-4, 7-6 (4)
2022 Paris Masters (Semifinals): Djokovic won 6-2, 3-6, 7-6 (4)
2022 Astana (Final): Djokovic win 6-3, 6-4
2022 Rome Masters (Final): Djokovic won 6-0, 7-6 (5)
2021 French Open (Final): Djokovic won 6-7 (6), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
2021 Rome Masters (Quarterfinal): Djokovic won 4-6, 7-5, 7-5
2020 French Open (Semifinal): Djokovic won 6-3, 6-2, 5-7, 4-6, 6-1
2020 Dubai Masters (Final): Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4
2019 Paris Masters (Quarterfinal): Djokovic won 6-1, 6-2
2019 Shanghai Masters (Quarterfinal): Tsitsipas won 3-6, 7-5, 6-3
2019 Madrid Masters (Final): Djokovic won 6-3, 6-4
2018 Canada Masters (Round of 16): Tsitsipas won 6-3, 6-7 (5), 6-3
1:05PM - HEAD-TO-HEAD RECORD
Player: 12 | Djokovic: 10 | Tsitsipas: 2
1PM - It all comes down to one match. Djokovic vs Tsitsipas. The former is chasing a plethora of records that will further enhance his status as a living legend. The latter is looking for his maiden Grand Slam title by passing one of the toughest tests in tennis. If it wasn’t enough, the World No.1 ranking is also up for grabs. Live action from 2PM IST. Stay tuned for all the build-up!
PREVIEW (via Reuters)
Novak Djokovic will look to rise above the drama that has engulfed him at Melbourne Park and claim a record-extending 10th Australian Open title on Sunday in a generational clash against Stefanos Tsitsipas.
A year after being deported from Australia on the eve of the Grand Slam for lacking COVID-19 vaccination, Djokovic has battled a hamstring strain, heckling spectators and a media storm over his father mixing with fans toting banned Russian flags at the tennis.
In handling everything within his control, though, Djokovic has been supreme.
The Serb’s dominant semifinal victory over American Tommy Paul on Friday stretched his winning streak at the event to a record 27 in the professional era, eclipsing Andre Agassi’s 26-match run between 2000 to 2004.
Never beaten at Melbourne Park after reaching the semis, fourth seed Djokovic is rated an unbackable favourite to triumph again under the floodlights at Rod Laver Arena.
Despite that, the decider presents possibly the best matchup fans could have hoped for following the early exit of injured champion Rafa Nadal.
It offers a rematch of the dramatic 2021 French Open final, in which Djokovic came back from two sets down to snatch the title and leave Greek Tsitsipas heartbroken.
Not that the match was fresh in Djokovic’s memory.
“I think he (Tsitsipas) has never played a (Grand Slam) finals, am I wrong?” Djokovic asked incredulous reporters this week.
The stakes are sky-high for both players.
At 35, Djokovic needs one major title to draw level with 36-year-old Nadal’s 22 in the all-time Grand Slam race. Meanwhile third seed Tsitsipas is desperate to become the first Greek to win a Grand Slam crown, having put the nation on the tennis map.
Whoever wins will take the world number one ranking from Spain’s Carlos Alcaraz, who missed the tournament through injury.
At 24, Tsitsipas may feel his time has come. He buried his semifinal hoodoo at Melbourne Park against Russian bruiser Karen Khachanov in four sets on Friday after falling three times previously at the hurdle.
“These are the moments I’ve been working hard for,” said Tsitsipas.
“To be able to play in finals that have a bigger meaning than just the final.”
The atmosphere promises to be electric, and possibly volatile as tension builds.
Melbourne’s strong Greek community, the most populous outside Greece itself, will be in full voice at Rod Laver Arena.
They will rival the army of Serbian supporters who have gorged on Djokovic’s success since his first title at Melbourne Park as a 20-year-old in 2008.
Neutral fans, meanwhile, could well rally behind Tsitsipas in the hope of seeing a genuine contest.
With a huge serve, thumping groundstrokes and comfort on all areas of the court, Tsitsipas has the weapons to trouble anyone on tour. Whether he has the endurance and mental fortitude to dislodge iron man Djokovic remains to be seen.
For all the huff and puff of the younger generation, only Daniil Medvedev has managed to beat the Serb in a completed match at a hardcourt Grand Slam since a shock fourth round loss to Chung Hyeon in the 2018 Australian Open.
Not even Nadal or retired great Roger Federer have ever bested Djokovic in a final at Melbourne Park, and the Serb is hell-bent on extending that incredible record.
“Of course, I have professional goals and ambitions. Those are Grand Slams and being number one in the world,” said Djokovic.
“So I do want to make more history of this sport, no doubt.”