'Be with your families': Novak Djokovic in tears in beautiful Australian Open speech

Chris Young
Sports Reporter

With an eighth Australian Open trophy secured thanks to a marathon five-set victory over Dominic Thiem, Novak Djokovic had only one person on his mind - Kobe Bryant.

The Los Angeles Lakers great, his daughter, Gianna, and seven others died in a helicopter crash in Los Angeles the weekend before Djokovic's win in the championship match at Melbourne Park.

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Wearing a green jacket with the letters KB and the numbers 8 and 24 emblazoned on the chest, Djokovic reflected on ‘some devastating things that started 2020.'

“With huge bush fires here in Australia. Conflicts in some parts of the world - people dying every day.,” Djokovic told the crowd.

“Obviously one person that I considered close in my life, and who 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.

Novak Djokovic paid tribute to his friend Kobe Bryant in his speech after winning the 2020 Australian Open. (Photo by WILLIAM WEST/AFP via Getty Images)

“Be with our families. Stay close to the people that love you, that care about you.”

“Of course we're part of professional sport. We compete.

“We try out best but obviously there are more important things in life.

“And it's important to be conscious and humble about things that are happening around you.”

Djokovic’s insane win not without controversy

The Serbian superstar doesn't believe he crossed the line after touching the chair umpire during a volatile Australian Open final on Sunday night.

Djokovic is facing the prospect of a hefty fine for twice tapping Damien Dumusois on the foot while remonstrating with the French official during his drama-charged five-set win over Dominic Thiem.

The now eight-time Australian Open winner lost his cool when he was handed back-to-back time violations in the one game for taking too long to serve.

With the score locked at 4-4 in the second set, the second penalty came at break point and cost him a first serve, with Djokovic losing the game.

A furious Djokovic marched past the umpire's chair and tapped Dumusois's foot and sarcastically exclaimed: "You made yourself famous in this match. Great job. Especially in the second one. Great job. You made yourself famous. Well done man".

Dumusois didn't react.

But, according to the official grand slam rule book, Djokovic could find himself hit with a $US20,000 ($A30,000) fine, although penalties are discretionary.

The rules state: "Players shall not at any time physically abuse any official, opponent, spectator or other person within the precincts of the tournament site. Violation of this Section shall subject a player to a fine up to $US20,000 for each violation."

WITH THE ASSOCIATED PRESS