Novak Djokovic collected his record-extending 10th Australian Open championship and record-tying 22nd Grand Slam title overall with a 6-3, 7-6 (4), 7-6 (5) victory over Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final at Melbourne Park.
The victory Sunday night also will allow Djokovic to rise to No. 1 in the AP rankings on Monday.
The Serb collapsed into tears after the match.
A year ago, Djokovic, 35, did not play in the Australian Open after he was deported from the country because he was not vaccinated against COVID-19.
"I have to say this has been one of the most challenging tournaments I've ever played considering the circumstances, not playing last year, coming back this year," he said, wearing a jacket with the number 22 emblazoned on it.
Djokovic, who was more emotional than usual, added: "Only my team and family know what we have been through in the last four or five weeks and this is why I'd probably say this is the biggest victory in my life considering the circumstances."
Tsitsipas, 24, in only his second Grand Slam final to Djokovic's 33rd, appeared nervous, losing the first set.
But he battled back into contention in a much closer second set as his confidence grew, earning his first break point -- and set point -- when Djokovic blasted a backhand wide.
But the Serb clung on to keep the set on serve and it went to a tiebreak, where his greater experience roared to the fore.
Against the odds, Tsitsipas broke for the first time on Djokovic's opening serve in set three, only to relinquish the advantage immediately after a gripping rally.
It again went to a tiebreak, where Djokovic once again raised a level.
"I've had the privilege to play a lot of difficult, high-intensity matches, but I would like to say one more time Novak brings the best out in me," said Tsitsipas, who is still yet to win a major.
"He's the greatest that has ever held a tennis racquet, for sure," the Greek added.