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The Latest: Djokovic's tribute to Kobe after Australian win

MELBOURNE – The Latest on the Australian Open (all times local):

1:15 a.m.

Novak Djokovic had the Australian Open trophy in his hands for the eighth time, and his thoughts turned to 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 over Dominic Thiem in the championship match at Melbourne Park.

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. 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," Djokovic told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena. “I would just like to ... say that this is a reminder to all of us that we should stick together more than ever. Be with our families. Stay close to the people that love you, that care about you.”

Winning isn't everything.

“Of course we’re part of professional sport. We compete. We try out best but obviously there are more important things in life,” he said. "And it’s important to be conscious and humble about things that are happening around you.”

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12:45 a.m.

After trading shots for five sets vying for the Australian Open title, Novak Djokovic and Dominic Thiem united to recognize the impact of the deadly wildfires on the tournament's host country.

“We all saw, before the tournament, also during, what we’re doing is by far — there are way more important things in life," Thiem said after his five-set loss to Djokovic, now an eight-time champion at Melbourne Park. “It’s very tough what this beautiful country has been through, or still going through."

He said he hoped the tournament, where millions of dollars was raised to go toward the bush fire recovery, was “a great distraction" for people affected and that “a disaster like this is never happening again." Djokovic mentioned the fires among “some devastating things that started 2020.”

Fires across southern and eastern Australia have claimed at least 33 lives since September, destroyed more than 3,000 homes and razed more than 10.6 million hectares (26.2 million acres).

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11:45 p.m.

Novak Djokovic has won his record-extending eighth Australian Open championship and 17th Grand Slam title overall by beating Dominic Thiem in five sets in the final.

Djokovic's 6-4, 4-6, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4 victory means he will return to No. 1 in the rankings, replacing Rafael Nadal.

Djokovic improved to 16-0 in semifinals and finals at Melbourne Park. No other man in the history of tennis has won this tournament more than six times.

Djokovic adds his Australian Open haul to his five titles from Wimbledon, three from the U.S. Open and one from the French Open.

Only Roger Federer, with 20, and Nadal, with 19, have won more men's Grand Slam singles trophies.

Thiem was appearing in his third major final. He has lost them all.

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11 p.m.

Novak Djokovic has rallied to take the fourth set 6-3 and send the Australian Open final against Dominic Thiem to a fifth set.

Seven-time Australian Open champion Djokovic won the first set 6-4, but lost six straight games after being called for a time violation on his serve in the ninth game of the second set. Thiem took the second and third sets 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic had only dropped one set in the tournament — in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff — until the final. He won his previous two finals at Melbourne Park in straight sets.

Djokovic has never lost a final or semifinal at the Australian Open.

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10:15 p.m.

Dominic Thiem has won the third set to lead the Australian Open final against Novak Djokovic by two sets to one.

Seven-time Australian Open champion Djokovic won the first set 6-4, but lost six straight games after being called for a time violation on his serve in the ninth game of the second set. Thiem took the second and third sets 6-4, 6-2.

Djokovic had only dropped one set in the tournament — in the first round against Jan-Lennard Struff — until the final. He won his previous two finals at Melbourne Park in straight sets.

Fifth-seeded Thiem, a 26-year-old Austrian, is aiming for his first major title after losing the last two finals at the French Open to Rafael Nadal.

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9:30 p.m.

Dominic Thiem has taken the second set to level the Australian Open final against seven-time champion Novak Djokovic.

After surrendering the first 6-4 with a double-fault on set point, Thiem broke Djokovic's serve in the third game and then fended off a break point in the sixth game before dropping serve in the eighth to make it 4-4.

Fifth-seeded Thiem broke again in the next game after Djokovic was first warned by chair umpire Damien Dumusois for exceeding the 25-second serve clock at 15-30 and then penalized with a fault on break point for exceeding the time allowance again.

At the change over, Djokovic told Dumusois he'd done a “great job, especially in the second one. You made yourself famous.” Thiem held in the next game to take the set 6-4.

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8:40 p.m.

Novak Djokovic has taken the first set in the Australian Open final against fifth-seeded Dominic Thiem.

Djokovic, who is bidding for an eighth title at Melbourne Park, broke Thiem's serve in the last game to clinch the set 6-4 in 52 minutes.

Thiem served a double-fault on set point.

Second-seeded Djokovic has never lost a semifinal or final he's contested at the Australian Open, and is aiming for a 17th Grand Slam title overall. Thiem has been runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the last two French Opens.

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7:45 p.m.

The Australian Open final is underway, with Novak Djokovic bidding for an eighth title at Melbourne Park and Dominic Thiem aiming for his first.

Second-seeded Djokovic has never lost a semifinal or final he's contested at the Australian Open, and is aiming for a 17th Grand Slam title overall. No. 5-seeded Thiem has been runner-up to Rafael Nadal at the last two French Opens, his best performance so far at the majors.

Djokovic won the toss and was serving first.

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4:45 p.m.

Rajeev Ram's decision to focus on doubles paid off when he teamed with Joe Salisbury to win the Australian Open men's doubles title.

The No. 11 seeds were in control from early in the opening set to beat Australian wild-card entries Max Purcell and Luke Saville 6-4, 6-2 in 70 minutes.

It's Ram's second Grand Slam title - he teamed with Barbora Krejcikova to win the Australian Open mixed doubles last year. Krejcikova successfully defended that title with Croatia's Nikola Mektic on Saturday.

This was Salisbury's first Grand Slam final.

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