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- Djokovic overcomes gallant Thiem to win Australian Open number eight
Djokovic, 32, came back from the brink to beat Dominic Thiem 6-4 4-6 2-6 6-3 6-4 on Rod Laver Arena on Sunday, to claim a record-extending eighth Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.
And the Serbian, who now has 17 Grand Slams to his name, said during his winner’s speech that the bush-fires crisis and the death of close friend Bryant was a timely reminder to remain close to loved ones.
“There were some devastating things that happened at the start of 2020,” began Djokovic, wearing a jacket with Bryant's initials on the chest.
“The huge bushfire here in Australia, some conflicts across the world, people dying every day, and someone who I regarded as close in my life and was a mentor to me, Kobe Bryant, passed away as well with his daughter.
I would just like to say that this is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever and be with our families and stay close to the people that love you and care about you.
“Of course, we are part of professional sport, we compete and try our best, but obviously there are more important things in life but it is more important to be conscious and humble about things that happen around you.”
Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer have now won 13 Grand Slam titles in succession, dating back to Federer's 2017 title at Melbourne Park.