Rafael Nadal claimed two Australian Open titles in 2009 and 2022. The Spaniard lost four finals in Melbourne in between, including an epic one to Novak Djokovic in 2012. Two legends fought for five hours and 53 minutes before Novak prevailed 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5, lifting the trophy in the most extended Major final ever!
Nadal and Casper Ruud are in Buenos Aires, kicking off their South American tour. The young Norwegian spoke about the 2012 Australian Open final, saying he was probably more broken than Rafa when the Spaniard lost, sitting in front of the TV for six hours.
Nadal was Ruud's idol, and he wanted to see him win the title. Rafa enjoyed this conversation and joked about asking Novak Djokovic to send him the trophy. Rafa gave his everything to overpower Novak in the fourth set and force a decider.
Carried by this momentum, the Spaniard forged a 4-2, 30-15 advantage in the final set before missing 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.
The Serb had more winners and forced more mistakes, forging his victory in the mid-range exchanges as nothing could separate them in the quickest and most extended rallies.
Casper Ruud cheered for Rafael Nadal against Novak Djokovic in 2012.
They needed 40 minutes to complete the first six games.
Nadal led 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 one for 7-5 after an hour and 20 minutes.
Novak responded with a break in the second set's game ten after Rafa's costly double fault. Thus, the Serb leveled the overall score at 1-1, almost two and a half hours since the beginning of the encounter. With 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, Nadal kept fighting and clinched it in the tie break after almost 90 minutes to send the match into a decider. Rafa missed that chance to open a 5-2 gap and allowed Novak to break back. The Serb secured another break at 5-5 when the Spaniard netted a slice.
Serving for the victory in game 12, Djokovic saved a break point and sealed the deal with a forehand winner to celebrate one of his brightest moments on the tennis court.