World No. 1 Novak Djokovic’s incredible five-set win over second-ranked Rafael Nadal was the longest final in grand slam history, lasting five hours and 53 minutes. But where does the marathon clash rank among tennis’ finest title matches?
- Novak Djokovic is focused on success at the French Open and Olympic Games in 2012
- The world No. 1 beat Rafael Nadal in the longest grand slam final in tennis history
- The marathon five-set Australian Open clash lasted five hours and 53 minutes
- Djokovic has now defeated 10-time major winner Nadal in the last three grand slam finals
(CNN) — World No. 1 Novak Djokovic has set his sights on a first French Open title after beating second-ranked Rafael Nadal in a epic five-set Australian Open final on Sunday.
The Melbourne final was the longest ever played in one of tennis’ four grand slams, as Djokovic claimed his fifth major crown and third in Melbourne with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 win in five hours and 53 minutes.
When asked if this was his greatest win, the Serbian — who has beaten Nadal in the last three grand slam finals — told reporters: “Yes. Right now, yes.
“This one I think comes out on the top because we played almost six hours … 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.
“I’m very proud just to be part of this history, part of the elite of the players that have won this tournament several times.
“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 a.m.”
Australian legend Laver is the last man to hold all four grand slam titles at one time, having achieved that feat for a second time in 1969.
Djokovic can match that if he wins the French Open for the first time in June, though his quadruple slam would be in a non-calendar year.
The 24-year-old hopes to improve his performance at Roland Garros, where last year he was beaten in the semifinals by 16-time major winner Roger Federer to end a 43-match winning run.
“I’m prioritizing grand slams this year, as every year, and the Olympic Games,” the 24-year-old said. “I think that’s one of my highest goals.
“So I want to do well and I want to get the first final at least in Paris. I have never been in finals there, and I have a feeling that I’m ready this year to achieve that.”
Djokovic has now won seven successive finals against Nadal, including Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, but he gave due credit to the 2009 Australian Open champion after their marathon match.
“Unfortunately there had to only be one winner because we both gave it all. We both put 100% of our abilities on the court and played to the last moment,” he said.
“There couldn’t be two winners, but he definitely deserved to be a winner as well. I would be saying same thing if I was sitting here as a loser.”
After an intensive fortnight of competition, Djokovic said he planned to ban his friends from talking to him about tennis.
“Please, yes,” he joked when asked he was going to take a break from the game. “I’m going to definitely try to get that message to them.”