MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic He came to Australia on a mission or a number of missions.

The championship was won by him nine more times. To win a 22nd Grand Slam men’s singles title and draw even with his rival Rafael Nadal at the top of that list. To remove any doubt anyone might have about whether he remains the world’s dominant player, the most commanding player of the last decade and now this one, too. He must be stopped from playing in order to prevent him winning any tournament.

Check. Check. Check. Also, check.

Australia expunged him after he refused to be vaccinated for Covid-19. Djokovic Reclaimed Grand Slam title that he had won the most, surpassing all others. 10th The championship Australian Open By beating Stefanos Tipas 6-3, 7-6(4), 7-6(5) on Sunday.

After one last forehand off Tsitsipas’s racket floated long to end a match that felt lopsided despite the two tiebreakers, Djokovic He turned to look at his coaches and family members seated in the box. He pointed to his head, his heart and then just below his waistband, letting the world in on his team’s code language and telling it that winning on Sunday took everything he had.

“It takes a big heart, mental strength and the other thing as well,” He laughed when he realized that the night was now early morning.

A bright No. 22 was emblazoned on his jacket. This triumph was 22 inches below his collarbone. “the biggest victory in my life.”

In addition to gaining pole position to surge past the injured star Nadal on the career Grand Slam list — and in the GOAT debate — Djokovic He also claimed the number one spot in the World Rankings, which makes him at 35 the second-oldest person to achieve that rarefied status, after Roger Federer (who was almost 37 when he last occupied the top of the tennis world). Djokovic He turns 36 this May 22. It’s probably a bad idea to bet against his taking that record from Federer, as he has so many others.

It is remarkable because of how much tennis this feat requires Djokovic He has missed the last year. Because he refused to receive a Covid-19 shot, he cannot travel to the United States. If that policy is not changed, he will be unable to play in the major tournament in Indian Wells in California in March. He also won’t miss the hardcourts swing in the summer which includes the U.S. Open.

He is either stubborn or a man of principle — and more likely both.

Djokovic’s score sheets in this tournament might suggest that these last two weeks were little more than a vacation with some tennis thrown in. He lost only one set in seven matches. His The opponents were almost wiped out in the semifinal, quarterfinal, and fourth round tests.

If Djokovic He is now on. As he was during the second week, it is all about firsts. His first points are earned by his first, line-scraping serves. First breaks of his opponents’ serves that become an initial dagger, and first-set wins for a player who rarely lets anyone creep back into a match.

After a win, opponents are forced to take another shot. It’s tennis as a form of suffocation. Tommy Paul was the American that lost to Djokovic The semifinals saw Paul say that the majority of the first set was lost. Paul had been playing tennis all his life. But this time, the second between points was so fast.

Andrey Rublev was a Russian player with an intimidating forehand serve and pace in the corridor before being summoned onto the court.

Alex de Minaur won five of the final rounds, playing before a cheering crowd from his hometown. After demolishing de Minaur, Djokovic The Serbian Press stated that they were playing against an Australian in Australia had motivated him because of what the country’s government had done to him last year, detaining and deporting him because of his notoriety and his stance against mandated vaccinations.

However Djokovic’s reclamation mission in Australia was filled with hazards. He injured his hamstring before the tournament. It meant that he had to be strapped around the area where he was injured until the final. He was unable to move with the magic movement that is his foundation for the game, and he struggled through the first week.

Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach, said 97 percent of players would have pulled out of the tournament.

“He is from outer space,” Ivanisevic spoke of DjokovicBecause of the injury, Mr. X became much more aggressive and began to smash his forehand every time he saw an opportunity to win a point. “His brain works differently.”

The pain and discomfort went away, just like with his other injuries. He heard the noise on social media questioning whether the leg had ever been hurt at all, and shot back that no one ever questioned the validity of other players’ injuries — an unsubtle reference to the always banged-up Nadal.

Just as his speed was reaching its peak, Srdjan’s father was captured on video snapping a photo with Rod Laver Arena fans, many of whom held Russian flags. Djokovic’s win in the quarterfinals. Russia and Serbia have strong cultural and political ties. Tennis fans from outside Serbia are almost always met with hostility. DjokovicThe team pulls for him, often making them underdogs.

Djokovic He dealt first with Paul, then with the public. His father never intended to support the war in Ukraine and that he had grown up in war-torn Balkans, he was well aware of the terrible consequences and that a supporter would not be.

After that, only Tsitsipas, for years seen as tennis’s heir apparent, stood in his way.

Tsitsipas, an Australian citizen with a large and energetic Greek population, might be home on Sunday, particularly with No. Tsitsipas is currently ranked No. 1.

Or maybe it’s not. Tsitsipas was unable to play with the same ease and fluidity for almost two weeks and fell behind. Djokovic As he began the first set, he barely managed to get into a sweat.

In the second set, though, Tsitsipas’s arm seemed to loosen, the forehands started to bang and the windmill one-hand backhands started to whip.

In the weeks ahead, this will be Tsitsipas’s most sleepy hour. He would have had a shot at breaking with the netted volley. Djokovic’s serve at 4-3. A tentative return to Djokovic’s meatball of a second serve when Tsitsipas had set point. The long forehand and the loose backhand — the stroke Djokovic He was able to pick on the night’s most important events that gave him an edge that he wouldn’t give up on the tiebreaker.

“He’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket,” Tsitsipas stated of Djokovic As he once again held onto his runner up plate.

Djokovic is the game’s best front-runner, winning roughly 95 percent of the matches in which he wins the first set. A two-set lead has been lost by him only one time, which was 13 years ago.

In the second and third sets, they traded service breaks. Then they traded service games to reach a tiebreaker. This match was close, but not as close as it seemed. Tsitsipas shot his shots high and in the net, which allowed Djokovic To grab a 5-0 lead

Tsitsipas won five of six next points and was close to winning it, Djokovic tightened his game and Tsitsipas swung his racket with nothing to lose, there was little question how this would end — only when.