“I can defeat Rafael Nadal 7 times in a row- Because I am Novak Djokovic- The player with indomitable will and confidence.”
The message that was conveyed to the entire tennis world as Djokovic tore his t-shirt after winning the longest match (5 hours 53 minutes) of the Grand Slam in the open era.
Result: Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal in 5 sets:
5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5
Djokovic who was just 2 points away from winning his 5th Major GS in the 4th set was taken to the fifth set by the sheer tenacity and determination of Nadal. It was a match filled with so many twists and turns that nobody knew until the fifth set as to who is going to win the match. But in the end, Djokovic simply outclassed Nadal through his mental strength and calm attitude during crucial moments in the match to claim this third Australian Open GS title!
Nadal played beautifully during the first set, getting his first break against Djokovic at 2-2. Djokovic was pretty flustered after the break as he threw his racquet and went for a t-shirt (color) change. That pretty much set the tone of the match. Although Djokovic broke back again 2-4 down only to be broken back again at 5-5. Serving at 6-5, Nadal finally managed to win the set on his third set point in 1 hour 20 minutes.
Just when it looked like Nadal had finally got to terms with Djokovic in terms of mental advantage; Nole came back with a zen like approach and got a break at 2-1 in the second set. Nadal held the serve and then with his resolute determination broke back to level the match at 5-4. When it looked that Nadal has bounced back in the game, Nole stepped it up and from 30-40 (after a correct overrule by the umpire), won the set on a double fault by Nadal in 66 minutes.
The third set proved to be a nightmare for Nadal who lost it very easily. He was broken two times in the set and Djokovic won it 6-2 with just 7 unforced errors. Just when it looked like Djokovic will cruise through the match, Nadal somehow hung in there fighting his heart out at every point. The turning point came during the 8th game of the 4th set. At 3-4, Nadal faced 3 crucial break points. The set went in for a tie break which Nadal won 7-5.
In the fifth set, a tired looking Djokovic was unable to hold his own serve as Rafa took a lead of 4-2. But then this is Djokovic we are talking about- the calmest tennis player. He broke back twice to take a lead for 6-5 and served out the match. In the end it was the fighting spirit and calmness of Djokovic that prevailed and he won the the marathon match. This was a win which reminds you of Nadal’s epic win in ‘09 in two 5 set matches against Verdasco and Federer. The only difference- the winner is different!
What was more inspiring to see was the way with which Djokovic & Nadal fought this battle mentally as well as physically. After losing to a guy 6 times in the final, when Nadal was down mentally, he nearly reversed the battle of minds and clearly today, it was a match of pure will and determination!
More importantly, it showed to the world that anything is possible till the last moment. You need perseverance, determination and belief to make it possible.
This match will probably go down as the match which has taken the tennis to a whole new level. Great Warriors, Fighters and Friends with each other- Djokovic and Nadal will be saluted by tennis fans for the best match of the season!
In the end, I will sum up the match with this quote:
"The spirit, the will to win, and the will to excel are the things that endure. These qualities are so much more important than the events that occur.”
Evolution of Novak Djokovic- Australian Open (2007-2012)!
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