Stefanos Tsitsipas can win the first Grand Slam title with the final of the Australian Open on Sunday, Novak Djokovic can set records.

When Novak Djokovic was in the final of the Australian Open for the first time in 2008, his opponent in the final tomorrow, Stefanos Tsitsipas, was still taking his school bags for a walk. The 24-year-old Greek looks like a schoolboy compared to the Serb when it comes to Grand Slam statistics:

Tsitsipas can win his first Major on Sunday, while 35-year-old Djokovic would catch up with leader Rafael Nadal with a 22nd triumph. In Melbourne, the Serb, who won all of the Australian Open finals he entered, has long been number 1 with nine triumphs.

On Friday he answered all questions about his form in the 7:5-6:1-6:2 victory over US man Tommy Paul (USA). But Tsitsipas was also able to deliver a brilliant semi-final work in the 7: 6-6: 4-6: 7-6: 3 victory over the Russian Karen Chatschanow.

But one thing connects Djokovic and Tsitsipas: The winner replaces Spain’s young star Carlos Alcaraz as number 1 in the world.

The challenger

EPA/LUKE COCHStefanos Tsitsipas wants the first Grand Slam title

This is what heroes look like: The four-set win over Karen Chatschanov wobbled Stefanos Tsitsipas only briefly when he gave up the third set after taking the lead. The 24-year-old is defined a lot by his Greek homeland, even if it has not been used to success in his profession.


Ever since tennis became a professional sport, Greece has been as successful in men’s tennis as in ski flying. Before Tsitsipas appeared, Konstantinos Economidis, probably not even famous at home, was the best player in the ATP world rankings (2007 number 112). No wonder that Tsitsipas is not only a folk hero at home because of his appearance and his attractive game.

However, it is not the case that Greek is not understood in the tennis scene. After his victory over Khachanov, Tsitsipas named Cypriot Marcos Baghdatis, who was in the Melbourne final in 2006, as a role model.

Numerous former world-class players are of Greek descent. The parents of the US superstar Pete Sampras come from Greece. And Mark Philippoussis, formerly number eight in the world, is also of Greek descent. No wonder Tsitsipas brought the 46-year-old into the team. And training takes place in Nice with one of the best trainers in the world. Frenchman Patrick Mouratoglou also has blue and white blood (national colors of Greece).

home advantage

Tsitsipas has “home games” these days anyway: Melbourne is the third largest Greek city in the world – behind Athens and Thessaloniki. Up to 300,000 people of Greek descent live in the metropolis.


Tsitsipas is in a Grand Slam final for the second time after the French Open 2021. With his tenth tournament victory, he would be the 29th world number one since the ATP ranking was introduced (1973). In a loss to Djokovic, he would set his career high (third place).


The popularity in his own country was only dampened when he commented critically on the corona vaccination in 2021 and was brushed off by the government for it. “Nobody can force me to get a vaccine,” said Tsitsipas, who advised young people in particular not to be stabbed. At that time he also wanted to help the unvaccinated Novak Djokovic, now he is vaccinated himself.

In 2021 he was given the name “Pipipas” after excessively long toilet breaks. Soon after, the breaks were regulated.

There Favorite

Novak Djokovic wants to win his 22nd Grand Slam title

This is what serial winners look like: In a three-set win over US surprise Tommy Paul brought himself Novak Djokovic in the first sentence only himself out of the concept. Now he has the best chance of winning his tenth final in Melbourne. Many like it, many don’t. Nobody polarizes like the Serb.


Yugoslavia and its nation-states continued to produce great players even after the breakup. For women (Monica Seles) and also for men. Djokovic grabbed one of them as a coach – the Croatian Goran Ivanisevic, 2001 Wimbledon winner, makes the 35-year-old legs.

In terms of international popularity, Djokovic’s Serbian homeland isn’t necessarily an advantage. “Unfortunately, many still have Eastern Bloc thinking in their heads. That’s a shame,” said his former fitness trainer Gebhard Gritsch in a KURIER interview.

In Serbia itself, Djokovic is a national hero who has already become a political issue. When the unvaccinated record winner was expelled from Australia last year because of non-compliance with entry requirements, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić took on the Australian government. A few weeks later he invited the tennis star to the reception and thanked him for “fighting so much for his country”.

home advantage

No wonder that last year many Serbs took to the streets of Melbourne to hold rallies for their idol between court hearings. Not unusual that Serbian fan flags are hoisted in Melbourne Park again this year. Almost 100,000 people of Serbian descent live in Australia, around 30,000 in the state of Victoria with the capital Melbourne.


Djokovic can catch up with Rafael Nadal on Sunday and get his 22nd major, in Australia he holds the sole record with nine triumphs. He also finished seven seasons in first place – that’s a record. Nobody was at the top for as many weeks as the Serb (373).


The hiccup 2022 with the expulsion Djokovic not only brought enemies. But if father Srdjan appears with fans waving the Russian flag and if he is not always a model professional himself on the pitch, this does not increase his popularity. However, this is due to his social commitment, and he is responsible for charity projects. His humor on tour is also appreciated.

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