Novak Djokovic left nothing on the court, including emotions. He did Wimbledon for the first time last season, same with the US Open. Nonetheless, his third Australian Open triumph and his fifth Grand Slam title, beating Rafael Nadal in five sets, again, seemed to move him more than the previous victories.
The two grueling matches against Murray and Nadal brought him to tears. Djokovic came back in both matches from a set down in different stages of the match, just like he did against Roger Federer in the 2011 US Open Semi Final. Digging deep, and producing out of this world accuracy, power and shot selection with the game on the line has separated Djokovic from the rest of the pack these past 12 months.
Wimbledon is right up there next to this one because it’s just the tournament that I always dreamed of winning. But this one I think comes out on the top because just the fact that we played almost six hours is incredible, incredible. I think it’s probably the longest finals in the history of all grand slams, and just to hear that fact is making me cry, really.
I’m very proud just to be part of this history, part of the elite of the players that have won this tournament for several times, and I was very flattered to be playing in front of Rod Laver, in front of the all-time greats, and in front of 15,000 people that stayed until 1:30 am.
Nadal? What can you say about Rafa? He had a great tournament, and started great against Novak, uncharestaristic from what we saw last season in his six losses to Novak. The mental block was surely over when Nadal came back to tie the match at 2-2, to take a 4-2 lead in the fifth set.
Well, mental block aside, Nadal simply ran out of gas. Something that didn’t seem possible in the past has now happened more than once for Nadal when facing Djokovic. A new era, a new ruler, new rules.
Physically was the toughest match I ever played. I think we played a great tennis match. I enjoyed being part of this event and this match. I wanted to win, but I am happy about how I did. I had my chances against the best player of the world today. I played one against one. I didn’t play at lower level than him for a long time, so that’s a very positive thing for me. The important thing for me, is during all of 2011 I didn’t play as well as this.