Our highlights reel of all the action from day 14 of the 2012 Australian Open.
Performances of the day
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal
Because you can’t mention one without the other. These two jugadores produced a record-breaking 5 hours and 53 minutes final, so punishing, that they both needed to be brought chairs to sit on during the trophy ceremony. With momentum swinging back and forth like a wrecking ball, first Nadal ahead when he took the first set 7-5, then Djokovic, screaming through the second and third sets 6-4, and 6-2, then Djokovic again, in the ascendancy in the fourth, then Nadal as he battled back, then Nadal as he sneaked the tie-break 7-5, then Nadal as he broke to lead in the fifth set, then Djokovic as he broke to lead 6-5, then Nadal as he had break back point…and then….Djokovic.
That’s the only way to convey what was a seat-edging 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7(4), 7-5 result, perhaps not of the highest quality, but in the depths that the pair pushed each other to.
At 5 hours and 53 minutes, it surpassed the previous longest match at the Australian Open, 5 hours and 14 minutes between Nadal and Fernando Verdasco in the 2009 Australian Open semi-finals, and was the longest grand slam final in history.
It also yielded a third Australian Open title for Djokovic, his fifth grand slam singles title, and a seventh straight defeat at the hands of the Serb for Nadal. Where the pair’s rivalry goes from here will be fascinating. Can Nadal bounce back? He has to. Or will Djokovic carry on and on and on. It has certainly set 2012 along a very interesting track.
The Novak Slam. With his win, Novak Djokovic is on to become the first man to hold all four majors since Rod Laver in 1969, not in a calendar year, admittedly, but still. Serena Williams was the last person to do it, in 2002-3, Rafael Nadal came agonizingly close in 2010-11. Will 2011-12 see the Novak Slam?
The weather. Melbourne Park became encased in a tea cosy as hot and humid weather hit the city. With rain in the air, Rod Laver Arena’s roof was partially closed for much of the day. By 9.30pm, it was still 32 degrees on court.
Hailing the Rocket (and eight others)
The pre-men’s final ceremony saw the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup lowered from the roof of Rod Laver Arena, before being carried around by the nine living Australian men who have won the Australian Open. Finishing up with Rod Laver, who celebrates 50 years since he won his first calendar grand slam this year, it was a misty-eyed sight .
Most amusing moment
Nadal’s reaction to the rain falling at 4-4 in the fourth set, a sort of ‘hello, it’s raining’ face while waving his arms like a windscreen wiper.
That Rafa has a new quirk. Before serving, he walks into the Melbourne emblem at the bottom of the court, does a turn, and walks out. Funny.
Stat of the day
Rafael Nadal’s winning record at a Grand Slam when he has won the first set, prior to this evening. The one and only loss came to David Ferrer at the 2007 US Open. And now add this one.
Quote of the day
“It’s like, Yay, we won. I have to go to the airport in half an hour”
Bethanie Mattek-Sands has her celebrations cut a little short
Tweet of the day
I miss calling him failvak
@clayisforgirls on Novak Djokovic
Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau. Mixed Doubles champions. It couldn’t happen to two nicer folk, the American and Romanian coming through 6-3, 5-7, 10-3 to defeat Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes.
And, to borrow from Andy Murray, all the umpires, line judges, ball kids, and all the staff who make this event happen. Take a holiday.
Come back tomorrow for…
Nothing. That’s it for the action from Australian Open 2012. But we will have reviews and photos and more.