Novak Djokovic has branded his win over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the 2023 Australian Open final as ‘the biggest victory of his life’ and claims he had ‘no clue’ about the jacket he wore with the number 22 on it at the ceremony.
Djokovic beat Tsitsipas on Sunday to win the Australian Open for the 10th time and record his 22nd Grand Slam trophy overall – which sees him equal Rafael Nadal for the most major men’s singles titles in history.
The 35-year-old Serbian was spotted wearing a jacket with the number 22 on it as he picked up the trophy, which fellow tennis star Nick Kyrgios labelled as ‘elite energy’.
Djokovic spoke to Eurosport about the jacket following his victory and said: ‘I don’t know [when it was made].
‘People won’t believe me, but I had no clue about this jacket. I took a different jacket for the ceremony but my team told me to put on this one. It was nice of them.’
Djokovic was emotional in his on-court interview following his historic victory over Tsitsipas, referencing events last year in which he was engulfed in a political row over coronavirus vaccinations as it saw him deported from Australia and barred from playing after spending time locked up in an immigration facility.
‘Good evening everyone. First of all I have to say I am touched by Stefanos’ words. Thanks so much for being so kind and respectful.
‘I think we both would agree on the court we are fierce competitors, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t respect each other and acknowledge each other’s effort.
‘I congratulate you on an amazing tournament. Tough luck tonight. This will not be your last Grand Slam final, you have a lot of time. You are one of the most professional players I know on the tour, and one of the most interesting.
‘I would like to finish off by commenting something on Greece and Serbia. We are relatively two small countries that don’t really have a tennis tradition. We didn’t really have players to look up to.
‘I think the message for any young tennis player around the world watching this now, dreaming to be where we are now, dream big. Anything is possible. Don’t let anyone take away the dream.
‘It doesn’t matter where you are coming from. I think the more disadvantaged a childhood you have, the stronger you become and we are the proof of that. Don’t let anybody take that dream away from you.
‘Water it like you would water the flowers. Even if you can only find one person in the world that supports you, dream big and you can make it.
‘What a journey it has been for my family, my team and myself. I don’t know where to start and where to finish.
‘I don’t take anything for granted. I know you guys sometimes tolerate the worst sides of my character and I appreciate the patience you give me.
‘Why are you laughing, Goran? I don’t know if you guys (coaches) will ever forgive me for what I have done to you all these years.
‘This trophy is mine as much as it is yours. Thank you guys, from the bottom of my heart.
‘I have to say this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I have ever played in my life considering the circumstances, not playing last year, coming back this year.
‘I want to thank all the people who made me feel welcome, made me feel comfortable to be in Melbourne and to be in Australia.
‘There is a reason why I have played my best tennis throughout my career in this arena.
‘I try to pinch myself and really live through these moments. It’s a long journey. Only the team and the family knows what we have been through in the last four or five weeks.
‘I would say this is probably the biggest victory of my life, considering those circumstances. Thank you so much – and hopefully see you next year.’