MELBOURNE, Australia (AP) -- Novak Djokovic started making peace with the crowd as soon as he lifted the trophy. After beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 4-6, 6-4, 6-3, 7-6 (2) Sunday night to win the Australian Open for his first Grand Slam title, Djokovic knew a little public relations was in order.
True, he had kept the Rod Laver Arena crowd in stitches last week with his Maria Sharapova impersonation. But Djokovic also had upset Roger Federer in the semifinals and now had eliminated Tsonga, who was riding a great wave into the title match.
"I know the crowd wanted him to win more," Djokovic said. "That's OK. It's all right. I still love you guys - don't worry. I'm very, very happy that I won my first Grand Slam here, so hopefully we'll see you here on this stage a lot more often."
Djokovic felt as if he had to fight two rivals - the fans and his opponent - in beating Federer and Tsonga. He frequently yelled when things went wrong.
"Sometimes, you just can't control your emotions on the court," he said. "I'm still learning. I'm still young."
The 20-year-old Serb is the first man other than No. 2 Rafael Nadal to win a Grand Slam title from Federer since Marat Safin won the 2005 Australian Open.
Djokovic said he was under extreme pressure to defeat Tsonga, an unseeded Frenchman who had beaten four players in the top 14, including Nadal in straight sets in the semifinals.
Tsonga's audacious style, resemblance to Muhammad Ali and magnificent run in only his fifth major made him a popular contender at Melbourne Park. His great tale about his Congolese father witnessing the epic "Rumble in the Jungle" heavyweight bout between Ali and George Foreman in 1974 added to the legend.
The underdog story gained momentum when Tsonga's father, Didier, who flew in from France for the match, stood and threw four right hooks to celebrate his son's first-set success.
Djokovic admitted he felt the heat. But he regrouped after the first-set barrage and began to climb back. He did not face a break point in the second and third sets. He staved off one crucial break point in the fourth before dominating the tiebreaker.
"Coming on against a player with nothing to lose - he was going for the shots and he was very dangerous, especially in the first set - I was pretty nervous," he said.
Tsonga, so aggressive earlier in the tournament, seemed content to rally from the baseline, especially after getting passed several times. The forehands that whipped past Nadal and kissed the lines were wayward. And he netted some of the soft touch volleys that gave him easy points against the Spaniard.
"I was trying to stay with him because I knew sooner or later, with my style of game, I could get in control of the match," Djokovic said.
With Federer only two majors shy of Pete Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles, Djokovic said he needed to make the most of any opportunity.
"This match was especially important because I was the favorite and I knew everybody was expecting me to win, so anything but the win was a loss," Djokovic said. "I wanted really to win because I felt my chance. I wanted to win my first Grand Slam. Now things are different."