30 January 2023
Novak Djokovic has returned as the world’s number one tennis player. He was crowned King at Melbourne Park following his tenth Australian Open title on Sunday, January 29 after defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas. This makes him the first man in the Open era to win ten titles in a single Grand Slam tournament while the win leaves him equal with Rafael Nadal’s 22 Grand Slam titles.
The Serbian legend, who first won the Australian tournament in 2008, began his professional career at the Australian Open two decades ago. His win was even more remarkable considering the many challenges he has encountered in the past few years.
After his victory, Djokovic took the opportunity to deliver a ‘Churchill-esque’ speech that is sure to inspire many tens of thousands of aspiring young tennis players and to be remembered as one of the best speeches in Australian Open history, maybe even studied, for years to come.
‘I want to thank all the people who have supported me throughout my career and especially during these recent years that were so difficult,’ Djokovic started. ‘I want to thank my family and friends, who have been there for me every step of the way and have believed in me when I didn’t believe in myself.’
Djokovic also spoke of how his experience of adversity helped him in his journey to success. ‘The struggles and adversities I’ve faced have made me stronger and more resilient,’ he said. ‘I’ve learned to never give up and to keep fighting, no matter how difficult the situation may seem.’
He also spoke humbly of his experience in 2022, when he was expelled from the Australian Open and forcibly deported by the Minister for Immigration because of his vaccination status.
‘It was one of the toughest moments of my career,’ he said, ‘but it was also an important lesson that I will never forget. It taught me to never give up and to keep fighting, no matter how difficult the situation may seem.’
Mr Djokovic was granted a medical exemption by the Australian Open in January 2022 after providing proof he had recently recovered from Covid. Several days later, however, he was denied entry due to not providing sufficient evidence he had been vaccinated.
Djokovic’s speech was deeply personal. As an Orthodox Christian, he often gives glory to God after a victory, and this championship speech was no different. His speech was a reminder of the importance of faith, resilience, and dedication! It was also a clear demonstration of how nonsensical the Covid vaccine coercion and constraints over the last three years have been for so many, particularly those unable or unwilling to comply.
The Serbian athlete also offered words of encouragement to his fellow players and fans. ‘We all have our own paths and our own journeys,’ he said. ‘My message to all of you is to never give up, no matter how hard it gets. Believe in yourself and keep pushing forward.’
Djokovic’s speech had the character and theme of the famous Never Give In speech, delivered by Winston Churchill to his alma mater, Harrow School, in October 1941. Like Churchill, Djokovic’s words serve as a reminder to never give up, no matter how hard it gets.
Djokovic took a moment to thank the people behind the scenes who have contributed to his success. ‘I want to thank my coaches, fitness trainers, and medical staff for all their hard work,’ he said. ‘I also want to thank the tournament staff, my sponsors, and everyone else who has helped me during my career.’
He also made a personal shout-out during the speech to Rod Laver, who was sitting in the audience. Laver is one of the all time greats of the sport, winning a record 200 tournaments in his 23-year career.
Finally, Djokovic concluded his speech by expressing his gratitude for the privilege of being able to play the sport he loves. ‘I’m thankful for the opportunity to play this beautiful game and to do something I love every day,’ he said. ‘I’m thankful for the amazing people I’ve met and the incredible experiences I’ve had.’
Novak Djokovic’s inspiring speech is sure to be remembered for years to come. His words of encouragement and resilience are a reminder to never give up and to keep pushing forward, no matter how dark the skies get.