2012 Australian Open – Men's singles final
|Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Rafael Nadal (2)|
|Date||Sunday, 29 January 2012|
The 2012 Australian Open Men's Singles final was the championship tennis match of the Men's Singles tournament at the 2012 Australian Open between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, at the time ranked the number 1 and 2 player in the world, respectively. In the final, Novak Djokovic defeated Rafael Nadal 5–7, 6–4, 6–2, 6–7(5–7), 7–5 to win the tournament. It was the longest Grand Slam final match (by duration) in history, lasting 5 hours 53 minutes, overtaking the record previously set by the 1988 US Open Final between Mats Wilander and Ivan Lendl. The match is considered to be one of the greatest tennis matches of all time. With both players playing at their highest levels, the match is memorable for being a war of attrition and for the impeccable quality and duration of play. Before this match, Novak Djokovic played his semifinal against Andy Murray, which also went the distance - lasting 4 hours and 50 minutes.
Rafael Nadal won the first set 7–5, gaining a break of serve after a long attritional battle. The second set was equally close, with Djokovic coming back from one break down to win the set 6–4 and level the match at one set each. The third set was the shortest of the match, as Djokovic broke Nadal twice to take the set 6–2. In this set, Djokovic dropped only two points on serve and broke again in game eight with a crushing forehand to lead for the first time.
Nadal won the fourth set tiebreak, 7-5 after trailing within the set and also down during the closely contested tiebreak; Djokovic had led 5–3 before Nadal took the next four points. The final set saw a return of the intense play seen in the opening sets. Nadal broke in the sixth game to take a 4–2 lead; Djokovic then broke back to level at 4–4. Finally, Djokovic made a decisive break of serve to win what is, in terms of duration, both the longest Grand Slam final in the Open Era and also the longest match in the history of the Australian Open.
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This match is central to the Djokovic–Nadal rivalry. Nadal called it the toughest loss of his career, but the best match he ever played. Djokovic said it was the finest win in his career and also commented on the high level of tennis played. Not only was this the longest Grand Slam final, but according to Tennis Channel and the Australian Open TV networks, this was one of the most-watched finals, despite ending late into the night locally. After the 2012 Australian Open, Rod Laver came out with his list of greatest players in the amateur and Open Era. Djokovic was ranked 6th and Nadal 5th on the Open Era list.
|1st serve %||98 of 166 = 59%||137 of 203 = 67%|
|Winning % on 1st serve||67 of 98 = 68%||90 of 137 = 66%|
|Winning % on 2nd serve||43 of 68 = 63%||30 of 66 = 45%|
|Receiving points won||83 of 203 = 41%||56 of 166 = 34%|
|Break point conversions||7 of 20 = 35%||4 of 6 = 67%|
|Net approaches||23 of 31 = 74%||16 of 19 = 84%|
|Total points won||193||176|
|Fastest serve||202 km/h||204 km/h|
|Average 1st serve speed||190 km/h||183 km/h|
|Average 2nd serve speed||150 km/h||136 km/h|
Djokovic and Nadal about the match
After the match, Nadal said that "His (Djokovic) return probably is one of the best in history" and "[He makes it] almost every time". "This one was very special," Nadal said. "But I really understand that was a really special match, and probably a match that's going to be in my mind not because I lost, no, because the way that we played."
Djokovic said, "It was obvious on the court for everybody who has watched the match that both of us, physically, we took the last drop of energy that we had from our bodies, we made history tonight and unfortunately there couldn't be two winners".
Pundits and player reactions
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- "Unforgettable. Unmatched. A new definition of suffering for the title. There really aren't any words to describe this." -Chris Fowler
- "You think you've seen everything, and then you witness a match like this." -Patrick McEnroe
- "It was an absolutely superhuman effort by Djokovic. It just goes to show you how good he is. It's mind blowing." -Pat Cash
- "What an unbelievable match! Best match I've seen in my lifetime for sure." -Boris Becker
- "By far the greatest match I ever saw. Incredible performances from both guys." -Pete Sampras
- "I think this was the best tennis match ever in the men's game." -Andre Agassi
- "Wow what an unbelievable match to watch. Definitely the greatest match I've seen." -Mats Wilander
- "It showed what it takes to beat this top group of players. Truly fantastic match to watch. One of the greatest I've ever seen." -Björn Borg
- Djokovic–Nadal rivalry
- 2008 Wimbledon Championships – Men's Singles final
- 2009 Australian Open – Men's Singles final
- 2012 Australian Open – Men's Singles
- 2012 French Open – Men's Singles final
- 2012 US Open – Men's Singles final
- 2019 Australian Open – Men's singles final
- Longest tennis match records
- Briggs, Simon (29 January 2012). "Australian Open 2012: Novak Djokovic wins battle of endurance to beat Rafael Nadal in near six-hour epic". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- Eckstein, Jeremy (17 February 2012). "Novak Djokovic vs. Rafael Nadal: Why Aussie Open Final Is Greatest Match Ever". Bleacher Report. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Australian Open final the greatest match ever?". Stuff.co.nz. Sydney Morning Herald. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 2 February 2015.
- "Novak Djokovic beats Rafael Nadal in Australian Open final". Retrieved 29 January 2012.
- "Djokovic has that unbeatable feeling". Retrieved 30 January 2012.
- "Longest Men's Singles Championship Final". ESPN Sports. 30 January 2012.