sport news MIKE DICKSON: Novak Djokovic was more emotional than he's ever been after ... trends now
The year-long journey that Novak Djokovic talked about had taken him all the way from a detention hostel for asylum seekers to what has become his second home.
On the Rod Laver Arena, the place where he has become invincible, the sheer scale of the voyage was there for all to see.
After climbing its wall to celebrate a 10th Australian Open title with his support team he fell, sobbing into his brother’s arms. Then he collapsed on his back to the floor, his chest heaving and the tears still flowing.
Novak Djokovic won a record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title in Melbourne on Sunday
‘Only my team and family know what we have been through these past four or five weeks. This is probably the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances,’ Djokovic said while clutching the Norman Brookes trophy after a 6-3, 7-6, 7-6 win over Stefanos Tsitsipas.
At the end the Serb had pointed to his head, his heart and his private parts, explaining later: ‘It takes big heart, of course a lot of mental strength, and the third thing as well to make it.’
This success elevates him to 22 Grand Slam titles alongside Rafael Nadal, with Roger Federer forever stuck on 20.
Having completed this extraordinary return to Australia, it looks only a matter of time before Djokovic leaves behind the great Spaniard, whose body is becoming increasingly uncooperative. A by-product of this latest triumph is a return to the world No 1 position, despite having played fewer tournaments than his rivals due to his refusal to be vaccinated.
Djokovic was emotional after his win which came a year on from being deported from Australia
Controversy stalks Djokovic as relentlessly as he chases down the balls of his flailing opponents. Even on Sunday there was the question of whether his father Srdjan would attend, after the unfortunate photo opportunities he had provided Vladimir Putin supporters earlier in the week.
In the end he stayed away from the support box, but was there in the bowels of the stadium for the celebrations.
There had also been the questions over how injured Djokovic really was earlier in the tournament. All this, of course, pales into insignificance compared to January 2022, when he was slung out of the country amid a national furore.
‘After last year’s event, coming to Australia this year I was extra nervous and I didn’t know how I would be received,’ he said. ‘I was also motivated to try