2023 In Review: Novak Djokovic conquers Melbourne, matches Rafael Nadal


2023 In Review: Novak Djokovic conquers Melbourne, matches Rafael Nadal
© Clive Brunskill / Staff - Getty Images Sport

Novak Djokovic missed the 2022 Australian Open. The Serb returned victorious 12 months later, conquering his tenth Melbourne Park trophy this year over Stefanos Tsitsipas. Novak beat Stefanos 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 in two hours and 55 minutes, matching Rafael Nadal's 22 Major titles and replacing Carlos Alcaraz on the ATP throne.

Tsitsipas fired 15 aces and 40 winners. However, he added 42 unforced errors, losing the crucial points in sets two and three and finishing on the losing side. Djokovic tamed his strokes nicely and played better behind the first and second serve.

The Serb got broken once and delivered two breaks, enough to emerge at the top after clinching both tie breaks. Never losing the Australian Open final before, Novak made a reliable start in this one. Djokovic served well in the opener, avoiding break points and keeping the pressure on the other side.

The Serb fired a forehand winner in the first game and created two break chances in the next one. Stefanos denied them, avoiding an early setback. However, Novak secured a break at 2-1 after Stefanos' costly double fault, moving in front and gaining confidence.

Djokovic served well in the remaining games, firing a service winner at 5-3 and closing the opener in 36 minutes. Tsitsipas played better in the second set, never facing a break point and following Djokovic's pace. The Greek squandered a set point on the return at 5-4, which would cost him dearly.

Novak reached deuces on the return in games five and seven, failing to make an extra step and earn break points. The Serb served to stay in the set at 4-5 and missed a backhand, offering the Greek a set point. Djokovic saved it with a forehand down the line winner and held for 5-5 and more drama.

Stefanos netted a forehand in the fifth point, falling 4-1 behind. The Greek claimed the following two points on the return and reduced the deficit before locking the result at 4-4. However, Tsitsipas sprayed a backhand error at 4-5, giving Djokovic two set points.

Novak Djokovic celebrated his tenth Australian Open title.

The Serb seized the first with a powerful serve, moving two sets to love in front after an hour and 46 minutes. Novak lost the ground a bit after a bathroom break, spraying a backhand error in the third set's first game and getting broken for the only time.

Instead of building on that, Stefanos lost serve in game two after a forced error, bringing his rival back to 1-1. They served well in the upcoming games, and Tsitsipas landed a forehand down the line winner in game six for 3-3.

Djokovic cracked a backhand winner in the seventh game, holding at love and keeping the pressure on the other side. Stefanos stayed composed, closing the eighth game with four winners and serving to stay in the match at 4-5 after Novak's third consecutive hold at love.

The Greek stood two points away from the exit door at 30-30. He stayed composed and landed two winners to level the score at 5-5 and prolong the action. Novak extended his streak behind the initial shot, securing his fourth consecutive hold at love and opening a 6-5 gap with a booming serve.

Stefanos grabbed the 12th game with an ace, introducing a tie break, a must-win one for him. Djokovic painted a backhand return winner in the second point and opened a 3-0 gap after Tsitsipas' mistake in the next one. Novak moved 5-0 in front before Stefanos climbed back to 3-5.

The Serb earned three match points with a forehand down the line winner and missed the opening two. Djokovic converted the third with a forced error, celebrating his tenth Australian Open title and the 22nd at Majors.

Novak Djokovic Rafael Nadal Stefanos Tsitsipas