In the last 15 years, Novak Djokovic has been involved in some of the most remarkable matches in tennis history. With his incredible fighting spirit and iron will to push every rival for at least one more point, Novak has been able to bounce back from the verge of defeat numerous times and earn victories on the most significant tennis arenas and the strongest opponents.
Speaking for Tennis United podcast, Novak was asked about the most grueling and physically exhausting match he ever played, picking that memorable Australian Open 2012 final against Rafael Nadal that lasted for five hours and 53 minutes as the longest Major final ever.
In the semis, Djokovic prevailed against Andy Murray 7-5 in the decider, saving energy for another epic clash against world no. 2 and overcoming the fifth set deficit to defend the title claimed a year ago. After one of the most thrilling encounters ever, Novak produced a 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 triumph in just under six hours, trailing 4-2, 30-15 in the final set when Nadal missed a routine backhand that probably cost him the second Australian Open title.
Djokovic created 20 break chances, converting seven and giving serve away four times, as Nadal gave his best to lift the second trophy in three years. The Serb had more winners and forced more mistakes from the Spaniard, forging his victory in the mid-range exchanges as nothing could separate them in the quickest and most extended rallies.
Novak Djokovic recalled that epic 2012 Australian Open final against Rafael Nadal.
They 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, converting his third set point in the next game for a 7-5 after an hour and 20 minutes. Novak responded with a break in game ten of the second set after a costly double fault from Rafa, leveling the overall score at 1-1 almost two and a half hours since the beginning of the encounter.
With the momentum on his side, Djokovic won the third set 6-2 and moved closer to the finish line, hoping to seal the deal in the fourth. Instead of that, Nadal kept fighting, taking it in the tie break after almost 90 minutes to send the match into a decider.
There, Rafa missed that chance to open a 5-2 gap, allowing Novak to break back and suffering another break at 5-5 when his slice hit the net. Serving for the victory, Novak Djokovic saved a break point in game 12 and sealed the deal with a forehand winner to celebrate one of his brightest moments on the tennis court.