Novak Djokovic and Aryna Sabalenka were hot at the 2023 Australian Open in more ways than one. On Saturday, the Belarus-born Sabalenka won her first ever Grand Slam title by capturing the women’s singles crown by edging Elena Rybakina 4-6, 6-3, and 6-4. Meanwhile, Djokovic from Serbia brought in his 22nd Grand Slam title, tying him with Rafael Nadal for the most ever among men and leaving him one behind Serena Williams on the all-time list. Djokovic defeated Stefanos Tsitsipas in straight sets, 6-3 7-6 (7-4) 7-6 (7-5), to capture his 10th Australian Open title. This was quite a different outcome from the 2022 Australian Open when Djokovic garnered a different title, “Novax Deportovic,” from some after he had refused to comply with Australia’s Covid-19 vaccine requirements and thus was deported. But these haven’t been the only hot takes from this year’s first Grand Slam tennis tournament.
No, there’s also been the hot button issue that’s brought out a lot of fans to this year’s edition of the annual tournament Down Under in Melbourne, Australia. In this case, we’re not talking about the fans with arms and legs. Rather, they’re the ones with blades that rotate and prompt you to say things like, “Luke, I am your father,” into them. You see, over the past two weeks, temperatures in Melbourne have climbed up to and above 36° Celsius, which would translate to about 96.8° Fahrenheit. That’s hot, but not in a Paris Hilton type of way. It’s been hot in a “need-to-enact-the-tennis-tournament’s-extreme-heat-policy” kind of way. In fact, it’s gotten so hot that tournament officials have had to halt matches in the outside courts at times during the tournament.
Yikes, you could call that some breaking news. As you can see, the tweet threat above referred to the AO Heat Stress Scale, indicating that it had first reached a four and then a five. AO, by the way, stands for Australian Open. This AO Heat Stress Scale was first implemented in 2019 because over the years the heat situation in Melbourne has not always been AOK. This Heat Stress Scale takes into consideration the following four climate factors: radiant heat, which is strength of the sun, air temperature in the shade, relative humidity, and wind speed. Throughout the tournament, Australian Open officials have kept track of all four factors and measurements of these factors at five different locations in the Melbourne Sports and Entertainment Precinct. This has included locations on court in Rod Laver Arena, Margaret Court Arena and Melbourne Arena. All of these measurements then have contributes to the scale goes, which goes from a low of one (temperate playing conditions) up to a high of five (suspension of play).
Not all players were cool with this Extreme Heat Policy though. In an article for CNN, Ben Morse had quoted Australian tennis player Jordan Thompson as telling the umpire when hearing that his match against J.J. Thompson would be suspended in the second set, “When has that ever happened? I’ve been here when it has been like 45 degrees! It is not going to be for hours.”
Keep in all that all this weather or not stuff at the 2023 Australian Open hasn’t been a heat of the moment thing. You see there’s been this thing called climate change that’s been affecting the entire world. You know the thing that a lot of politicians and business leaders have been telling you doesn’t exist or doesn’t merit immediate drastic action? Yeah, climate change is indeed a big public health problem, as demonstrated by more and more scientific evidence. And big public health problems like climate aren’t like zits, they simply don’t go away with time and hiding out for a while in the basement. Big public health problems kind of get worse and worse the longer that you go without doing much.
Australia, which is part of this world, has been feeling the sting of climate change, becoming more and more like an air fryer over the years. As a New South Wales government website indicates, temperatures in Australia have increased by an average of 1.44 ± 0.24 °C ever since the country began tracking such things in 1910. And its been progressive, not in a political sense but a statistics sense. Since 1950, every decade being warmer than the previous one. Things have been night and day too, meaning average temperatures in both the day and the night have continued to rise. In fact, 2019 proved to be Australia’s highest temperature year on record going 1.52°C above average.
The City of Melbourne website warns that “Our climate in Victoria has already warmed by 1°C. Temperature rise above 1.5°C will lead to major and irreversible damage to ecosystems. This is putting Melbourne’s coveted liveability in danger.” Melbourne has indeed been feeling the heat, experiencing hotter days and each year averaging 11 days greater than 35 degrees. In a little over two decades, this average could swell to 16 days, which would definitely not be swell for humans. For example, a 2009 heatwave resulted in a 46 per cent surge in ambulances being called and a 12 per cent bump in those going to emergency departments. This worsening situation prompted the City of Melbourne to declare a climate and biodiversity emergency in 2019 that “acknowledges that temperature rise above 1.5°C will lead to major and irreversible damage to ecosystems.” And yes that’s the same year that the Australian Open began to implement their AO Heat Stress Scale.
Whether everyone will start taking climate change more seriously is an open question. But it’s not just an Open question. It makes you wonder what’s going to happen in the coming years with not only the Australian Open but outdoor sporting events around the world. Many political and business leaders seem to be treating climate change with the urgency of a cat being asked to serve a tennis ball. They are acting like they can’t be bothered and just waving at the problem. Djokovic and Sabalenka may have made some waves in this year’s edition of the Australian Open. But unless more urgent action is taken about climate change, expect more and more worse and worse heat waves in the future.
Three People are in custody after reports of a robbery at a telecommunications store in Barrie.
On Saturday, officers were called to a Freedom Mobile store on Essa Road, near Mapleton Avenue, around 3:30 p.m.
Information is limited, but Barrie Police say three suspects, two adults and one youth, are now in custody.
While RSV and flu cases steadily decline in Canada, the World Health Organization is set to announce on Monday whether it still considers COVID-19 a global health emergency, but one infectious disease specialist says we still need to keep an eye on the coronavirus.
Roughly one in 200 babies born in Canada today will have congenital cytomegalovirus, a virus that can lead to hearing loss, intellectual disability or vision loss. But with only two provinces screening newborns for CMV, one father is asking other health-care systems to do more.
OPS and Ottawa Bylaw officers issued 192 parking tickets and 67 Provincial Offences Notices in downtown Ottawa this weekend, as hundreds of people marked the one-year anniversary of the 'Freedom Convoy'.
Former Mississauga, Ont. mayor Hazel McCallion, nicknamed 'Hurricane Hazel,' has died. She was 101 years old. Premier Doug Ford said McCallion died peacefully at her home early Sunday morning.
After years of reports and allegations detailing a 'toxic' workplace, Canada's RCMP says it is trying to evolve, focusing on diversity in its organization and repairing relationships with communities as it marks its 150th anniversary.
Actor Annie Wersching, best known for playing FBI agent Renee Walker in the series '24' and providing the voice for Tess in the video game 'The Last of Us' has died. She was 45.
A Russian teenager must wear an ankle bracelet while she is under house arrest after she was charged over social media posts that authorities say discredit the Russian army and justify terrorism.
Friends and volunteers gathered Sunday at Kyiv's St Sophia's Cathedral to say goodbye to Andrew Bagshaw, who was killed in Ukraine while trying to evacuate people from a front-line town. This comes as Russian forces heavily shelled the city of Kherson, killing three people and wounding six others, the regional administration said.
The German ambassador to Canada says Germany will not become 'a party to the conflict' in Ukraine, despite it and several other countries announcing they'll answer President Volodymyr Zelenskyy's pleas for tanks, possibly increasing the risk of Russian escalation.
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integrity, professionalism and accountability at every level.
That is why, following new information which came to light in recent days regarding your personal financial arrangements and declarations, I asked Sir Laurie Magnus, the Independent Adviser on Ministers’ Interests, to fully investigate this matter. You agreed and undertook to cooperate fully with the inquiry.
Following the completion of the Independent Adviser’s investigation – the findings of which he has shared with us both – it is clear that there has been a serious breach of the Ministerial Code. As a result, I have informed you of my decision to remove you from your position in His Majesty’s Government.
As you leave, you should be extremely proud of your wide-ranging achievements in government over the last five years. In particular, your successful oversight of the COVID-19 vaccine procurement and deployment programme which ensured the United Kingdom was at the forefront of the global response to the coronavirus pandemic. Your role was critical to ensuring our country came through this crisis and saved many lives. And as the Conservative Party Chairman, you have undertaken significant restructuring to Conservative Campaign Headquarters and readied us for important work in the coming months.
It is also with pride that I, and previous Prime Ministers, have been able to draw upon the services of a Kurdish-born Iraqi refugee at the highest levels of the U.K. Government. That is something which people up and down this country have rightly valued.
I know I will be able to count on your support from the backbenches as you continue to passionately and determinedly serve your constituents of Stratford-on-Avon and represent the many issues and campaigns you are dedicated to. Thank you for your service to this and previous governments.
However, when a bubble tea logo popped up on Sunday (January 29) - a lot of people were baffled by the inclusion.
What is bubble tea?
Bubble tea is a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated cold tea beverage.
The name comes from the jelly-like appearance of the pearls that look like bubbles in the drink.
Why is it so popular?
The beverage gained a lot of popularity during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Why has Google chosen today?
How has Google marked the occasion?
Google has come up with an interactive doodle that allows people to create their own milk tea concoctions and run their own shops.
All users need to do is click on the doodle and an animation will start playing on the screen.
In the interactive doodle, people are playing as a Formosan Mountain Dog who operates a bubble tea stand in the midst of a rainy forest.
What has Google said about it?
Google wrote on its Doodle page: "This Taiwanese drink started as a local treat and has exploded in popularity over the last few decades.
"Bubble tea has its roots in traditional Taiwanese tea culture which dates back as early as the 17th century. However, it wasn't until the 1980s that the bubble tea as we know it today was invented."
It further added: "As waves of Taiwanese immigrants over the past few decades brought this drink overseas, innovation on the original bubble tea continues.
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MELBOURNE, Australia — (AP) — Novak Djokovic climbed into the Rod Laver Arena stands to celebrate his 10th Australian Open championship and record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title Sunday and, after jumping and pumping his fists with his team, he collapsed onto his back, crying.
When he returned to the playing surface, Djokovic sat on his sideline bench, buried his face in a white towel and sobbed some more.
This trip to Australia was far more successful than that of a year ago — when he was deported because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19 — although difficult in its own ways: a bad hamstring; some off-court tumult involving his father. Yet Djokovic accomplished all he could have possibly wanted in his return: He resumed his winning ways at Melbourne Park and made it back to the top of tennis, declaring: "This probably is the, I would say, biggest victory of my life."
Only briefly challenged in the final, Djokovic was simply better at the most crucial moments and beat Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5). As a bonus, Djokovic will vault from No. 5 to No. 1 in the ATP rankings, a spot he already has held for more weeks than any other man.
“This has been one of the most challenging tournaments I’ve ever played in my life, considering the circumstances. Not playing last year; coming back this year,” Djokovic said, wearing a zip-up white jacket with a “22” on his chest. “And I want to thank all the people that made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable, to be in Melbourne, to be in Australia.”
The 35-year-old from Serbia stretched his unbeaten streak in Melbourne to 28 matches, the longest run there in the Open era, which dates to 1968. He adds trophy No. 10 to the seven from Wimbledon, three from the U.S. Open — where he also was absent last year because of no coronavirus shots — and two from the French Open, to match rival Rafael Nadal for the most by a man.
Only two women — Margaret Court, with 24, and Serena Williams, with 23 — are ahead of him.
This was also the 93rd ATP tour-level title for Djokovic, breaking a tie with Nadal for the fourth-most.
“I would like to thank you for pushing our sport so far,” Tsitsipas told Djokovic.
“He is the greatest,” Tsitsipas said, “that has ever held a tennis racket.”
Djokovic was participating in his 33rd major final, Tsitsipas in his second — and the 24-year-old from Greece also lost the other, at the 2021 French Open, to Djokovic.
On a cool evening under a cloud-filled sky, and with a soundtrack of chants from supporters of both men prompting repeated pleas for quiet from the chair umpire, Djokovic was superior throughout, especially so in the two tiebreakers.
He took a 4-1 lead in the first, then reeled off the last three points. He led 5-0 in the closing tiebreaker and, when it finished, he pointed to his temple before screaming, a prelude to all of the tears.
“Very emotional for us. Very emotional for him,” said Djokovic's coach, Goran Ivanisevic. “It’s a great achievement. It was a really tough three weeks for him. He managed to overcome everything.”
Djokovic acknowledged all of the issues created strain for him.
“It took an enormous amount of mental and emotional energy,” Djokovic said, “to really keep it tight, keep my focus.”
Keep in mind: It's not as though Tsitsipas played all that poorly, other than a rash of early miscues that seemed to be more a product of tension than anything. It’s that Djokovic was too unyielding. Too accurate with his strokes, making merely 22 unforced errors, 20 fewer than his foe. Too speedy and flexible on the run (other than when, moving to his left, Djokovic took a tumble).
“I did everything possible,” said Tsitsipas, who also would have moved to No. 1 with a victory, replacing Carlos Alcaraz, who sat out the Australian Open with a leg injury.
Perhaps. Yet Djokovic pushes and pushes and pushes some more, until it’s the opponent who is something less than perfect on one swing, either missing or providing an opening to pounce.
That's what happened when Tsitsipas held his first break point — which was also a set point — while ahead 5-4 in the second and Djokovic serving at 30-40. Might this be a fulcrum? Might Djokovic relent? Might Tsitsipas surge?
A 15-stroke point concluded with Djokovic smacking a cross-court forehand winner that felt like a statement. Two misses by Tsitsipas followed: A backhand long, a forehand wide. Those felt like capitulation. Even when Tsitsipas actually did break in the third, Djokovic broke right back.
There has been more than forehands and backhands on Djokovic’s mind over the past two weeks.
There was the not-so-small matter of last year’s legal saga — he has alternately acknowledged the whole thing served as a form of motivation but also said the other day, “I’m over it” — and curiosity about the sort of reception he would get when allowed to enter Australia because pandemic restrictions were eased.
He heard a ton of loud support, but also dealt with some persistent heckling while competing, including applause after faults Sunday.
There was the sore left hamstring that has been heavily bandaged for every match — until the final, that is, when only a single piece of beige athletic tape was visible.
And then there was the matter of his father, Srdjan, being filmed with a group waving Russian flags — one with an image of Vladimir Putin — after Djokovic's quarterfinal. The tournament banned spectators from carrying flags of Russia or Belarus, saying they would cause disruption because of the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Djokovic and his father said Srdjan thought he was with Serbian fans.
Still, Srdjan Djokovic did not attend his son’s semifinal or the final.
“We both agreed,” said the younger Djokovic, who did meet up with Dad for a hug after Sunday's match, “it would probably be better that he is not there.”
No matter all of it, Djokovic excelled — as he so often does.
“It’s been a long journey,” he said, “but a very special one.”
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Novak Djokovic has won his 10th Australian Open championship and record-equalling 22nd Grand Slam title overall by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final at Rod Laver Arena.
The Serbian star dropped just one set all tournament, despite saying he feared a left hamstring problem might force him to withdraw, and finished with a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over first-time Australian Open finalist Tsitsipas on Sunday.
As a result of winning the first Grand Slam of the year, Djokovic also reclaimed the world number-one ranking from Carlos Alcaraz.
The 35-year-old did not compete in the Australian Open a year ago after being deported from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
Government restrictions have eased since, and he was able to get a visa this time despite still not having gotten vaccinated against COVID.
“I have to say this has been the most challenging tournament I have played in my life … not playing last year, coming back this year,” Djokovic said after the match. “Only the team and the family knows what we have been through in the last four or five weeks.”
Now Djokovic has extended his winning streak at the hard-court tournament to 28 matches.
His 10th trophy in Australia adds to the record he already held. His 22 major championships – which include seven from Wimbledon, three from the US Open and two from the French Open – are tied with Rafael Nadal for the most by a man in the history of tennis.
With sizeable Greek and Serbian communities in Melbourne, and Rod Laver in attendance, there was a raucous atmosphere.
Djokovic came into the match with his confidence high having won all nine of his previous Australian Open finals and with a 10-2 career advantage over the Greek.
He was superior throughout against Tsitsipas, but especially so in the two tiebreakers.
Djokovic took a 4-1 lead in the first and after it was 4-all, pulled off the last three points. He led 5-0 in the closing tiebreaker and, when it finished, he pointed to his temple then climbed into the stands, pumped his fist and jumped with his coach, Goran Ivanisevic, and other members of the entourage, before collapsing, crying.
Djokovic returned to the court, sat on his sideline bench, buried his face in a white towel and let some more tears flow.
Margaret Court, with 24, Serena Williams, with 23, and Steffi Graf, with 22, have the most championships among women.
This was also the 93rd ATP tour-level title for Djokovic, allowing him to break a tie with Nadal for the fourth most. Jimmy Connors holds that mark, at 109.
Djokovic was participating in his 33rd major final, Tsitsipas in his second – the 24-year-old’s other one also ended in a loss to Djokovic, at the 2021 French Open.
MELBOURNE, Australia -- There's an inevitability about Novak Djokovic playing tennis at Rod Laver Arena.
It's the feeling that regardless of what year we're in, who stands on the other side of the net and just how lopsided the crowd support might be in favor of his opponent, it's still Djokovic who will prevail.
Djokovic, 35, did just that on Sunday evening for the 28th consecutive time at Melbourne Park. The Serbian dispatched third-seeded Stefanos Tsitsipas 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) to clinch a record 10th Australian Open title, one that draws him equal with rival Rafael Nadal for the most major titles (22) in men's tennis -- the pair having left longtime leader Roger Federer in their wake with 20.
As Djokovic hugged each member of his players' box, and before he was able to raise the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, a familiar discussion began to circulate. Who is tennis' GOAT? And while it's near impossible to definitively answer this until the Big Three era has officially drawn to a close, there's no doubt Djokovic's fortnight Down Under has seen him put his nose in front, once again.
Federer has now hung up his racket and Nadal faces yet another injury layoff. Meanwhile, here's Djokovic, winning Slams. Earlier in the tournament, he said, "I know I'm in the last quarter of my career," and while that may be accurate, his tennis would suggest he's not close to being finished. In fact, what he showcased over the past fortnight in Melbourne, all while battling a nagging hamstring strain, is not all that far away from peak-of-his-power Djokovic.
For the third time in his career, Djokovic dropped just one set along his journey to an Australian Open title. He humiliated local hero Alex de Minaur in the fourth round, repeated the dose against fifth-seeded Andrey Rublev in the quarterfinals and cruised by American Tommy Paul in a lopsided semifinal.
Tsitsipas, the world No. 4, was to be his greatest challenge, but he passed that test with ease, repeating the result of the 2021 French Open final. He kept the unforced errors low all while battering the ball from behind the baseline and hustling after anything Tsitsipas sent over the net. As always, Djokovic found an extra gear when the situation required it. Two tiebreaks? No problem.
"I did everything possible. There's nothing I could have extracted more. Novak is a player who pushes you to your limits," said a deflated Tsitsipas after the final. "I think he's the greatest who has ever held a tennis racket. The numbers speak for themselves. He has earned it with so much dedication he's put in and professionalism."
An exceptional and unparalleled return game is what has made Djokovic such a force on the ATP tour for 15 years. At this tournament, he struck more return winners than any other player and was the only man to win over 40% of first-serve points and 60% of second-serve points when returning.
But it might have been his serving that caught the eye most. Djokovic led the field in service games won (94%), ranked in the top 10 for first serve points won and saved 79% of break points. He was broken just once from 17 games in the final.
"It was honestly some of the best tennis I've ever played on this court," Djokovic declared after the match, referring to his stunning fortnight at Melbourne Park. "I would rank it right up there. Maybe top two, three of all time of performances on Slams."
So Djokovic now sits at 22. But no matter whether your allegiances lie with Federer, Nadal or Djokovic, there's no denying the Serbian's Slam wins figure could have grown significantly higher over the past 30 months, if not for the pandemic and some polarizing personal decisions.
He missed the opportunity to defend his Wimbledon title in 2020 when the event was canceled due to COVID-19. Sure, the title was no certainty, but he hasn't lost a match at Wimbledon since 2017.
Two months later, Djokovic was sensationally defaulted from the US Open after striking a linesperson with a ball during his fourth-round match. Again, there's no guarantee he would have lifted the silverware, but with a number of his main rivals sitting out the event for various reasons -- notably Nadal and Federer -- few were brave enough to pick against him.
And in 2022, he was unable to compete in the Australian Open or US Open because his COVID-19 vaccination stance wouldn't allow him to legally enter either country.
Djokovic was or would have been the odds-on favorite in all four of those majors. Even playing it conservatively, he would have likely added at least two more to his total. Had one of them been last year's Australian Open, he could very easily be sitting on 25 after his most recent triumph, leading Nadal's 21. An insurmountable gap.
But enough of the hypotheticals. The reality is Djokovic and Nadal are locked at 22-22. Even still, it's advantage, Djokovic.
Djokovic has now won five of the past seven majors he has contested -- his two failures coming in the 2021 US Open final and the 2022 French Open quarterfinals -- and by any logical metric he's the undisputed best player in the world. Heck, we're not even 18 months removed from him falling one match short of the coveted calendar Slam.
Meanwhile, Nadal, 36, is set to miss up to two months of tennis after suffering a Grade 2 iliopsoas injury during his straight-sets loss in the second round to American Mackenzie McDonald. But even prior to the injury, the Spaniard was in the midst of perhaps the greatest form slump of his professional career. Some prominent figures in the sport are doubting he will ever return to anything close to his best.
"[Nadal's loss to McDonald] was already the first step towards his retirement," tennis great Boris Becker said on Eurosport Germany's Matchball Becker show. "An injury like that is hard, and at this age, it takes even longer to get back into shape. I think his days are numbered."
By contrast, Djokovic's coach Goran Ivanišević believes his man can continue playing at an elite level for the foreseeable future.
"The way he's taking care of his body and approaching everything ... two to three years, for sure," declared Ivanišević after the final. "The guy is unbelievable. I don't know how to describe it in words."
Djokovic, too, says he isn't eyeing the finish line just yet.
"I am motivated to win as many Slams as possible," he said. "At this stage of my career, these trophies are the biggest motivational factor of why I still compete. I really don't want to stop here. I don't have intention to stop here.
"I know that when I'm feeling good physically, mentally present, I have a chance to win any Slam against anybody. Of course, 35 is not 25, even though I want to believe it is, but I still feel there is time ahead of me. Let's see how far I go."
While Djokovic is the favorite to end his career with the most men's Grand Slam titles, it shouldn't be the only measure used when considering tennis' GOAT.
Djokovic also owns the men's records for the most weeks as the No. 1 player in the world (373) and the most Masters 1000 titles (38), and he has accumulated more prize money than anyone else in the sport. He has amassed the most ATP Player of the Year awards (seven) and is tied with Federer for the most ATP Finals wins (six). Think of just about any men's tennis record, and Djokovic's name more often than not is at the top of the list.
Another factor working in Djokovic's favor is his winning record against both of his great rivals. He leads the Nadal head-to-head 30-29 and Federer 27-23.
Tennis' GOAT debate will be argued for years to come. Decades, probably. Some will say Federer, some will say Nadal. Others will argue Serena Williams or Margaret Court. But if nobody ever strikes a tennis ball again, you'd be hard-pressed to not have Djokovic at the top of the pile.
MELBOURNE, Australia — Novak Djokovic came to Australia with a mission, or, really, a series of them.
To win the championship he had won nine times once more. 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. To show the world that the only way to keep him from winning nearly any tennis tournament is to not let him play.
Check. Check. Check. And check.
A year after Australia deported him over his refusal to be vaccinated against Covid-19, Djokovic reclaimed the Grand Slam title he has won more than any other, capturing a record 10th championship at the Australian Open by beating Stefanos Tsitsipas, 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 turned and stared at his family and coaches sitting in his 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 said with a laugh once the night had turned into early morning.
He wore a jacket emblazoned with a bright No. 22 just under the right side of his collarbone and called this triumph “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 also reclaimed the top spot in the world rankings, making him, at 35, the second-oldest player to reach that rarefied realm, behind only Roger Federer, who was nearly 37 during his last stint on top of the tennis world. Djokovic turns 36 on May 22. It’s probably a bad idea to bet against his taking that record from Federer, as he has so many others.
The feat is even more noteworthy given how much tennis Djokovic has had to miss in the last year. He cannot play in the United States because of his refusal to get a Covid-19 shot. Unless there is a change in that policy, he will again miss a major tournament in Indian Wells, Calif., in March and the hardcourts swing this 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 dropped only a single set in seven matches. His fourth-round, quarterfinal and semifinal tests were nearly complete wipeouts of opponents.
When Djokovic is on, as he was in the second week of this tournament, his game is all about firsts. Line-scraping first serves that give him the first point of his service games. 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.
He does not let opponents catch their breath, smacking returns at their shins, forcing them to hit yet another shot, and then another one, after they think they have won a point. It’s tennis as a form of suffocation. Tommy Paul, the American who lost to Djokovic in the semifinals, said when it was over that much of the first set had been a blur. Paul has played tennis his whole life, but this time the seconds between points, between the moment he hit a ball and the moment he was on the run chasing the next one, had never passed so quickly.
Andrey Rublev, a Russian with a fearsome forehand and serve, paced in the hallway in the minutes before being called onto the court to play him in the quarterfinals.
In the fourth round, Alex de Minaur, playing in front of a hometown crowd ready to cheer him into battle, won just five games. After demolishing de Minaur, Djokovic said to the Serbian press that 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.
But Djokovic’s reclamation mission in Australia was filled with hazards. Ahead of the tournament, he aggravated his hamstring. It forced him to take the court wearing a thick strapping around the injured area until the final. He hobbled through the first week, playing without the magical movement that is the foundation of his game.
Goran Ivanisevic, Djokovic’s coach, said 97 percent of players would have pulled out of the tournament.
“He is from outer space,” Ivanisevic said of Djokovic, who became even more aggressive because of his injury, smacking his forehand whenever he saw a chance to end a point quickly. “His brain works differently.”
And then, as with so many of his previous injuries, a combination of rest, massages and painkillers made the pain and discomfort go away when it mattered most. 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.
Then, just as he was hitting top speed, his father, Srdjan, was caught on video taking a picture with fans outside Rod Laver Arena, some of whom were holding Russian flags, after Djokovic’s win in the quarterfinals. Serbia and Russia have close political and cultural ties. Tennis crowds outside Serbia almost always arrive with some hostility for Djokovic, and they pull hard for his opponents, who are usually underdogs.
Djokovic dealt with Paul and then dealt with the public, assuring everyone that his father had never meant to show support for the war in Ukraine, that as someone who grew up in the war-torn Balkans he knew the horrors of violent conflict and would never support it.
After that, only Tsitsipas, for years seen as tennis’s heir apparent, stood in his way.
Maybe Sunday night in Australia, where the large, spirited Greek population has turned Tsitsipas into an adopted son, would be the night, especially with the No. 1 ranking on the line.
Then again, maybe not. Tsitsipas came out without the ease and fluidity that he had played with for nearly two weeks, and he fell behind early. Djokovic barely seemed to break a sweat as he took the first set.
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.
This will undoubtedly be the hour that keeps Tsitsipas up at night in the coming weeks. The netted volley that would have given him a chance to break Djokovic’s serve at 4-3. The tentative return of Djokovic’s meatball of a second serve when Tsitsipas had set point. The long forehand and the loose backhand — the stroke Djokovic picked on all night that gave him the edge he would not give up in the tiebreaker.
“He’s the greatest that has ever held a tennis racket,” Tsitsipas said of Djokovic as he held his runner-up plate once more.
Djokovic is the game’s best front-runner, winning roughly 95 percent of the matches in which he wins the first set. He has lost a two-set lead only once, 13 years ago.
They traded service breaks in the first two games of the third set, and then traded service games until yet another tiebreaker. Like the match itself, this one was not nearly as close as the final numbers. Tsitsipas sprayed his shots long and into the net, allowing Djokovic to grab a 5-0 lead.
And while Tsitsipas made it close, winning five of the next six points, as Djokovic tightened his game and Tsitsipas swung his racket with nothing to lose, there was little question how this would end — only when.
Serbian, Novak Djokovic saw off Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece in straight sets, on his way to winning the Australian Open Title, in Melbourne, on Sunday.
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; but it was not as straight forward as it appears, in the scenes that the Greek who also lost the French Open final, to Djokovic, despite being two sets up; was able to hold serve in the last two sets, which both ended in tie breaks, in favour of Djokovic.
The victory which came after last year’s deportation drama, amid breaches of Australia’s Covid-19 regulations, completed a 10th record extending title for the Serbian in Melbourne.
The 2023 Australian Open crown was also the 22nd major title won by the 35 year old, who has now equalled Rafael Nadal’s record of Grand Slam titles, and will on Monday, return to the summit of the ATP ranking, as the new men’s No 1, in the world.
Tsitsipas was full of praise for Djokovic, who he pushed all the way, but the wait for a first Grand Slam triumph must go on for 24 year old from Greece.
“Novak, I don’t know what to say, I think it speaks for itself what you have achieved so far, It’s all in the numbers, congratulations”.
“These are the matches I’ve been working my entire life for, he’s one of the greatest in our sport, and I think he is the greatest who has ever held a tennis racket.” Tsitsipas said after losing the final.
Aryna Sabalenka on Saturday, won her maiden Grand Slam title by battling back from a set down, to beat Elena Rybakina in three sets, at a thrilling Australian Open women’s singles final.
Sabalenka, a Belarusian, seized the initiative after dropping the opening set to win 4-6 6-3 6-4, to become the first singles player to win a major under a neutral flag, as Russian and Belarusian players, were conditionally allowed to play in Australia, on their individual merit.
After receiving the trophy from tennis legend, Billie Jean King, Sabalenka said: “Thank you for an amazing atmosphere. And of course my team, the craziest team on tour I would say. We’ve been through a lot of downs last year, we worked so hard. You guys deserve this trophy, it’s more about you than me. I love you guys”
“I hope next year I come back stronger and I’ll show you even better tennis.”
Elena Rybakina, is a Russian-born Kazakh player, and has now lost two grand slam finals, having also lost last year’s US Open crown to Britain’s Emma Raducanu.
The days of R Shankar, an Indian expatriate in Bahrain, now start not with the usual cup of tea or a Good Morning. Nowadays, he wakes up to an unusual task. “Call the garage.”
The task is simple. Find out if the spare parts needed for his car has arrived.
It has been more than a month since his daily commute is waiting for critical parts to arrive at the service station.
Each time I call, they hang up, saying: “not yet ready”.
“Waiting for parts to arrive.” Shankar says the pain it gives is tremendous, as air, water and shelter are not just enough for humans to survive, as the vehicle is our primary need.
This, however, is not just the case for Shankar alone, as several others here are facing the same trauma – a shortage of spare parts.
Shankar is among the legions of people in Bahrain who is living in misery after sending their cars to service stations.
To find out the root cause of this crisis, The Daily Tribune contacted Industry experts here.
And all of them blame the crisis squarely on the supply chain crisis fuelled by the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
Besides, also playing its part is the worsening ‘chip crisis’ caused by supply chain disruptions and logistics, where the demand for integrated circuits or "semiconductor chips" exceeds the supply.
The Daily Tribune had reported on the chip crisis during the pandemic season.
Severe weather events, including the droughts in Taiwan during the summer of 2021, were also significant contributing factors.
Mohammed Zaki, General Manager of Zayani Motors, also holds the pandemic responsible for the spare parts shortage.
He also points out that the crisis is not brand specific.
“Every brand has the same issue,” he said, adding there is a shortage even for new vehicles.
“The global auto industry is severely impacted by the chip shortage which powers dashboards, power winders, and other devices.
This leads to increased prices for both new and used cars.
“Due to the shutdown, logistics are also more expensive, and because now they sell in bulk rather than individually, creating delays for parts to arrive.”
He also attributes the current shortage to China suffering significant losses during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Since then, this trouble is there. Experts reveal that the delivery delay is unprecedented, with some cars are stuck in car service agencies for two to three months.
Compounding the issue is a hike in demand since the start of 2022.
Estimates say the shortage had cost the global auto industry about $210 billion in lost revenue in 2022.
Reports say the automobile industry cancelled the production of 11.3 million units last year for chip shortages.