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Last Updated: Sunday, 27 January 2008, 14:30 GMT
Australian Open 2008

Novak Djokovic
Djokovic is the first Serbian to win a Grand Slam singles title
Novak Djokovic felt relief above all after claiming his first Grand Slam title with victory over Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at the Australian Open.

The 20-year-old became the first Serb to win a Grand Slam singles title with a 4-6 6-4 6-3 7-6 (7-2) victory.

"I feel kind of relieved. I've played at least the semi-finals in every Grand Slam in the last year," he said.

"I was pretty close in the US Open, so probably today I was a bit nervous at the start."

He added: "I found myself in a strange situation, that I was the favourite in the final of a Grand Slam. It was dangerous but I managed to cope with the pressure and win.

"I'm going to take it easy, I'm not going to try and think about reaching even higher goals right away.

I played amazing tennis here so I think I absolutely deserved to win

Novak Djokovic

"I'm not in a rush, I want to enjoy my success and just celebrate with the people I care about."

Djokovic admitted he had been under pressure as Tsonga began the match in blistering form.

"He started the match really well and was obviously a better player in that first set," he said.

"I was trying to keep my focus and consistency at a high level, wait for my opportunities and use them right away - which I did.

"That fourth set was a little bit strange, we had ups and downs and were holding serve pretty good. We were not moving well because we were pretty tired.


"I asked for the treatment because I felt some soreness in my hamstrings. Mental strength played a big part in this match, it's a Grand Slam final and you get nervous a little bit.

"The difference is if you stay focused in the end."

Despite his victory, the world number three does not expect an immediate changing of the guard and the imminent demise of number one Roger Federer.

"It's not possible that in only one tournament is changing the history," he said. "I played amazing tennis here so I think I absolutely deserved to win, even against him in the semi-finals.

"He accepted it in the right way and he's going to come back in a big style. He's still planning to be the best player in the world.

"We all know how good he is, we're going to see a lot of him this year."

I don't know if I have to be sad or happy with this final, but I feel great

Jo-Wilfried Tsonga

Tsonga had been bidding to become France's first male winner in Australia since Jean Borotra in 1928.

He started well and took the only set off Djokovic in the tournament but could not go the distance.

"I'm very proud of myself," he said. "I'm happy for Novak because he played unbelievable today.

"I don't know if I have to be sad or happy with this final, but I feel great."

Tsonga did admit that the amount of time Djokovic had taken while bouncing the ball ahead of serving had been a distraction.

"It's very difficult," he said. "Between points you have like 25 seconds for play. When it's 40 seconds, the umpire has to say something."

The 22-year-old Frenchman said he had been surprised by the positive reaction of the spectators on Rod Laver Arena.

"It's just unbelievable because the crowd was unbelievable," he said. "A lot of noise and everything. I had goose bumps. It was crazy."

Tsonga, who beat ninth seed Andy Murray in round one, said the two weeks had given him a huge boost in confidence.

"Not everybody can beat players who I beat," he said.

"So I know Richard (Gasquet) or (Mikhail) Youzhny or Rafael (Nadal), they are very good players. And to beat them, it's very difficult, and I did it, so I'm confident now."

Tennis on the BBC
07 Jan 08 |  Tennis


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