Australian Open All Orthodox Grand Slam Final: Tsitsipas vs Djokovic

Stefanos Tsitsipas Novak Djokovic Orthodox australian open

Stefanos Tsitsipas will face Serbian Novak Djokovic in what will be an all Christian Orthodox affair in the Australian Open tournament final this Sunday, January 29.

Tsitsipas will play for his first Grand Slam title and the No. 1 Pepperstone ATP Ranking after he booked his place in the Australian Open final with a win against Karen Khachanov in a 7-6(2), 6-4, 6-7(6), 6-3 semi-final victory on Friday.

Djokovic for his part overcame the American T. Paul 7-5, 6-1, 6-2 in straight sets.

During the French Open, in 2021 Djokovic was seen wearing a simple wooden cross. After winning his exciting semi-final against Rafael Nadal, Djokovic looked skyward with arms wide open in thanksgiving.

For him, his religious beliefs come before the many titles that he’s earned since the beginning of his career.

“This is the most important title of my life, because before being an athlete, I am an Orthodox Christian,” he said in April 2011, when he received the order of St. Sava in the first degree from the hands of Irenaeus, the Patriarch of the Serbian Orthodox Church.

Paparazzi photograph Djokovic in Marbella: Barefoot, wearing a wooden cross, and an unusual mask -

The order of St. Sava is the highest distinction in the Serbian Orthodox Church, and it was given to him especially for having contributed financially to the renovation of religious buildings in his native land, Serbia.

As a faithful Christian who lived out his childhood in a country rife with violent conflict — the war between Bosnia and Herzegovina lasted from 1992 to 1995 — Novak Djokovic has never lost sight of his roots.

And this is surely welcomed by his wife Jelena, whom he began dating in 2005, when they attended the same high school in Belgrade.

They took their marriage vows before God in July 2014, and their two children are named Stefan (3 years old) and Tara (4 months old). We can imagine their home would be an excellent school to learn not only tennis, but also generosity.

Going back to Tsitsipas, his father is Greek and his mother is Russian. And he believes being a product of two disparate cultures is the foundation for his soaring tennis career.

“It was very important that I came from a second background, that I had two different cultures, Greek and Russian, involved in my life,” Tsitsipas said. “It gave me a whole different perspective about things.”

Back in 2015 Stefanos Tsitispas tweeted:

Returning to the game, he looked on course to be his fifth straight-sets win of the fortnight, but this was complicated by a late Khachanov surge.

The first-time Melbourne semi-finalist denied Tsitsipas' attempt to serve out the match at 5-4 in the third set, and in the tie-break he saved two match points with fearless forehand winners, sparking a run of four points to steal the set.

But as he did after failing to serve out the opening set, the Greek responded, seeing home a 3-0 lead in the final set to advance.

"I thought about how hard I've worked to get into this position, and it takes a little bit more," Tsitsipas said of his mentality entering the fourth set. "I wasn't able to deliver that in the third set; I was extremely close to getting it.

"It's one of these moments that if you stick around, if you dedicate yourself even more and if you concentrate on these important moments even more, it pays off quite well.

"And always having that ambience in the background somewhere feels so good when I'm able to hit the ball and get such a reward back from the fans."

The third seed awaits nine-time champion Novak Djokovic or unseeded American Tommy Paul in Sunday's title match. If it is the Serbian across the net, the pair will contest a straight shootout for World No. 1 in a rematch of the 2021 Roland Garros final, won by Djokovic in five sets.

"These are the moments I've been working hard for. To be able to play finals like this, but finals that have bigger meaning that just a final," he said in his on-court interview.

"It's a Grand Slam final, I'm fighting for the No. 1 spot. It's a childhood dream to be capturing the No. 1 spot one day. I'm close. I'm happy that this opportunity comes here in Australia and not somewhere else, because this is a place of significance.

"Let's do it guys!" he continued, addressing the Rod Laver Arena crowd that has helped fuel his run. "Let's go!"

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