Novak Djokovic described his record-breaking Australian Open final victory over Rafael Nadal as the best win of his career.
The Serbian cemented his place at the head of men’s tennis with an epic 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 (5/7) 7-5 triumph, achieved in five hours and 53 minutes, making it the longest grand slam final in history and the longest match ever at this tournament.
It also maintained his domination over Nadal - he has won their last seven meetings - and made him just the fifth man to win three successive grand slam crowns following his victories last year at Wimbledon and the US Open. It was a truly remarkable match which swung one way and then another and gradually developed into a test of endurance as much as skill.
“Wimbledon is right up there because it was the tournament I always wanted to win but this comes out on top because we played for almost six hours, it was incredible,” he said. “It was the longest grand slam final of all time. Just hearing that fact makes me cry.
!I am very proud to be a part of history, to be among the elite group of players who have won this trophy several times. I had a lot of chances to win it in four sets but he deserved to prolong it and then really both of us could have won the match.”
Both men had worked hard to get to the final - Djokovic requiring four hours and 50 minutes to get past Andy Murray and Nadal three hours and 42 minutes to see off old foe Roger Federer.
Crucially, though, Nadal’s match had taken place 24 hours earlier and in the early stages of the fifth the Spaniard seemed to have a greater spring in his step.
When asked if he would watch a re-run of the match, Nadal joked: “No, it’s too long. Just the highlights.”