Novak Djokovic: 'My most epic AO match came against Rafael Nadal'
by JOVICA ILIC | VIEW 2843
Novak Djokovic claimed his first Major crown at the Australian Open in 2008. The Serb has been a dominant figure Down under since 2011, barely losing a match and standing on nine Australian Open trophies. Novak has played some epic matches in Melbourne, but one stands above them all.
Djokovic met his great rival Rafael Nadal in 2012 final and prevailed 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 after five hours and 53 minutes. Thus, Novak lifted the trophy in the most extended Major final in history, trailing 4-2, 30-15 in the decider and still emerging at the top.
Djokovic had to dig deep against Andy Murray in the semi-final, embracing another five-setter and preserving energy for the title clash. He and Nadal pushed each other to the limits like never before. The Spaniard missed that famous routine backhand in the decider's seventh game that probably cost him the second Australian Open title.
Djokovic created 20 break chances, converting seven and giving serve away four times. The Serb had more winners and forced more mistakes from the Spaniard. He forged the victory in the mid-range exchanges, as nothing could separate them in the quickest and most extended rallies.
Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in an incredible 2012 Melbourne final.
Great rivals needed 40 minutes to complete the first six games, with Nadal leading 4-2 before Djokovic claimed the next three games to open a 5-4 gap.
The Spaniard grabbed another break at 5-5 when Novak sent a backhand long and converted his third set point in the next game for 7-5 after an hour and 20 minutes. Djokovic responded with a break in game ten of the second set after Nadal's costly double fault to level the overall score at 1-1.
Novak used that momentum and claimed the third set 6-2, playing well and moving closer to the finish line. Nadal kept fighting and took the fourth set in the tie break after almost 90 minutes to send the match into a decider and extend an epic encounter.
Battling for every point, Rafa created a 4-2 gap and missed that crucial backhand to shift momentum to the other side. Refusing to surrender, Djokovic broke back and locked the result at 5-5 before securing a pivotal break in game 11.
Serving for the victory at 6-5, Novak saved a break point and sealed the deal with a forehand winner to celebrate one of the brightest moments of his entire career. "If I had to pick one country where I have had the most success, which treated me the best way in terms of tennis, it's here in Australia.
I won my first Major here in 2008, standing on nine Australian Open crowns. There were many epic matches over the years. If I have to pick one, it's the 2012 final against Rafael Nadal, lasting almost six hours," Novak Djokovic said.