An impressive show with a Greek twist was prepared by the organisers of the Australian Open as part of Novak Djokovic’s charity match ‘A Night with Novak and Friends’ in Melbourne, Victoria on Thursday night.
On the night, Novak presented a tennis celebration alongside world No. 6 and AO 2023 finalist Stefanos Tsitsipas, fellow AO 2023 champion and world No.2 Aryna Sabalenka and world No. 8 Maria Sakkari. A number of other special surprise guests will join in the fun.
Tsitsipas made an impressive entrance to the packed Rod Laver Arena on Thursday, after a short dedication video. In the midst of loud applause from the audience, he was welcomed by youth from the Pegasus Dance Academy dressed in traditional costumes and Greek dancing.
“My last time on this court was with Novak. It is just as exciting today. The set up is different today, with Greek dancers. I never expected Rod Laver Arena to be so alive. I feel at home here. They keep coming from 2014 onwards. I feel Australia as my home,” Tsitsipas said.
Even more impressive was the entrance of Djokovic who grabbed his fellow Serbian dancers and danced with them, creating pandemonium in the stands.
Later, Tsitsipas and Djokovic played a one-set friendly, which the Serb won 6-3 in 36 minutes. The Greek tennis player was “caught” by a camera during the match feeling discomfort in his troubled back.
Throughout the charity match, Grand Slam record holder Djokovic also engaged in fun sporting activities with notable names like Olympic middle-distance runner Peter Bol, American basketball player Alan Williams, Aussie gymnast Georgia Godwin, and cricketer Steve Smith.
Djokovic and Sabalenka also played mixed doubles against Tsitsipas and Sakkari, as well as wheelchair tennis where he was helped by Tsitsipas and Sabalenka.