In Depth

Australian Open 2020: emotional Novak Djokovic urges everyone to ‘stick together’

Serbian returns to world No.1 after securing his 17th grand slam title

Australian Open 2020 men’s singles final  Novak Djokovic beat Dominic Thiem 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4

Defending champion Novak Djokovic is back on top of the world rankings after his love affair with the Australian Open continued on Sunday.

Victory over Dominic Thiem in the Melbourne final means the Serbian has now won 17 grand slam titles - eight of which have come in Australia. 

Djokovic also replaces rival Rafael Nadal as world No.1, and the latest slam win moves him to within two of Nadal’s 19 titles and Roger Federer’s record of 20.

After his 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 win against Thiem, 32-year-old Djokovic said on Rod Laver Arena: “I would like to start by saying congratulations to Dominic for an amazing tournament, it was a tough match but you were very close to winning it. You have a lot more time in your career and I am sure you will get grand slam trophies. 

“I would like to thank my team, my family, my brother is here - thank you for coming all the way to Australia for some quality brother time and hopefully you enjoyed it.”

Austrian Thiem, who was aiming to win a maiden slam, said: “I would like to start with a huge congrats to Novak. Amazing achievement and to all your team. Unreal what you have been doing all these years. 

“I’m proud and happy I can compete in these times and period of tennis. I fell short but I hope I can get revenge soon.”

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‘We should stick together’

An emotional Djokovic also paid tribute to his close friend Kobe Bryant, the late NBA star, and urged people around the world to “stick together” during difficult times. 

Wearing a jacket with Bryant’s No.8 and No.24 on, Djokovic said: “There were some devastating things that started 2020, bushfires here in Australia, conflicts in parts of the world, one person that I considered close in my life and was a mentor to me, Kobe Bryant, passed away. 

“I would like to say that this is a reminder to all of us we should stick together more than ever, be with our families, stay close to the people that love you, that care about you, there are more important things in life and it is important to be conscious and humble about things happening around you. 

“This tournament sets a high standard for all the others, definitely my favourite in the world, and I am blessed to hold this trophy once again.”

Thiem also paid tribute to Australia following the bushfire crisis. The 26-year-old said: “We saw before and during the event there are more important things in life. We saw what this beautiful country had gone through.

“We saw all the people affected and the wildlife - we hope they can recover soon and a disaster like this never happens again.”

Djokovic vs. Nadal vs. Federer: will Novak end up as the GOAT?

Novak Djokovic has 17 grand slam titles, Rafael Nadal has 19 and Roger Federer has 20

Scott Barbour/Clive Brunskill/Getty Images

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