Novak Djokovic says winning a 10th Australian Open to equal Rafael Nadal’s record 22 men’s Grand Slam titles is “the biggest victory” of his life.
He also had to deal with a hamstring injury and an argument involving his father.
“Only the team and the family know what we have been through for the last four or five weeks,” said the Serb.
“I would say it’s probably the biggest win of my life, given these circumstances.”
Djokovic was overwhelmed with emotion after picking up a straight win over Greek third seed Tsitsipas at the Rod Laver Arena.
After climbing into the box to celebrate with his team and family, he burst into tears and lay down in their midst as the scale of his achievement hit him.
Djokovic continued to sob under his towel as he returned to his seat on the pitch.
The win sees him return to world number one for a record 374th week from Monday.
How Djokovic overcomes distractions to win back the crown
Twelve months ago, Djokovic was not allowed to play after being expelled from Australia following the coronavirus saga which ultimately led to his visa being revoked after a court case.
After being cleared to play at Melbourne Park this year, he had to overcome more adversity.
As well as the hamstring injury, he also had to deal with the controversy surrounding his father Srdjan – who was pictured with supporters of Russian President Vladimir Putin – ahead of Friday’s semi-final against American Tommy Paul.
Despite those distractions and a wobble in the second set when he got upset with his coaching staff, he played imperiously in key moments to win back the crown he couldn’t defend last year.
“I have to say it was one of the toughest tournaments I’ve ever played in my life given the circumstances, not playing last year, coming back this year,” Djokovic said.
“I want to thank everyone who welcomed me, made me feel comfortable being in Melbourne and being in Australia. There’s a reason why I’ve been playing my best tennis all along. throughout my career in this arena.
“I try to pinch myself and really live those moments. It’s a long journey.”
I am a born champion – Tsitsipas remains optimistic
Tsitsipas, 24, had to reflect on another loss to Djokovic in his second major final and insisted he had what it takes to eventually become a Grand Slam champion.
The Greek, who was seeded third at Melbourne Park, trailed by two sets when the pair met in the 2021 French Open final before Djokovic battled to win.
This time he wasn’t allowed to take the lead against a blocked Djokovic.
Tsitsipas described the defeat at Roland Garros as “heartbreaking” but was much more optimistic after Sunday’s loss.
“It’s time for me to aim for something like this,” he said.
“I see no reason to lower my expectations or my goals. I was born a champion. I can feel it in my blood.
“I can feel it as the competitive kid I was when I was young. It’s something that’s inside of me.
“I want to harvest that, make it bloom, make it even stronger and more loving, work hard to achieve those goals.”