AUSTRALIAN OPEN 2012
Djokovic: "We Will Both Remember Forever"
by ATP Staff|
The five-time major champion was conducting media and television interviews until 4:15 a.m. at Melbourne Park, almost three hours after the end of his five-set win. He even managed to sing, AC/DC's 'Highway to Hell', in a cameo performance at the post-championship staff party.
The 24-year-old Serbian then returned to his hotel, where he managed to get only a few hours sleep, before being whisked away to the Carlton Gardens for a photo shoot, followed by roundtable interviews at lunchtime.
"Today I only slept for a couple of hours ... but it was worth it," Djokovic told reporters at the Carlton Gardens. "All this effort that we both put in last night on the tennis court was incredible. It was something that we will both remember forever."
Having won the longest Grand Slam championship final on record, at five hours and 53 minutes, Djokovic admitted the victory would take time to sink in.
"Now I will have time to enjoy the success because it's not just about winning a grand slam. It's really more than that. The way that we played yesterday makes me feel very proud of what I achieved.
"Under the circumstances it was definitely the greatest match I've ever played. The match that could have gone either way. The match that almost went six hours. Adding to all that, it was a Grand Slam final and a win against the biggest rival."
By capturing the Australian Open title, Djokovic became just the fifth man since the Open Era began in 1968 to win three straight major titles, following his triumphs at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2011.
The Australian Open's host broadcaster, Seven, reports that Djokovic's victory over Nadal is the top programme of 2012, with an average national audience of 1,860,000 viewers watching until after 1.30 a.m. and a peak audience of almost four million viewers tuning in nationally. A staggering 1,675,000 viewers were still glued to the coverage at 1.45 a.m.
PRESS REACTION TO HISTORIC WIN
The Age (Australia): "Nadal may have Roger Federer's measure, but Djokovic has increasingly had Nadal's. For the seventh consecutive time, Djokovic has upstaged the [World] No. 1 he usurped, but there was only honour for the Spaniard in defeat. The pair embraced at the net after Djokovic struck a final forehand winner, before the Serb removed his shirt to bellow like the warrior it was once doubted he could be."
The Australian: "Djokovic, rightly, will be lauded as a deserving champion but Nadal underlined his reputation as one of the most courageous players to grace Rod Laver Arena. He, too, returned from the brink in the fourth set to ensure this match a place in history. It is a match so superb that it will be discussed whenever the great grand slam finals are discussed. It is also a most fitting finale to an extraordinary Australian Open."
Herald Sun (Australia): "On rubbery legs and fighting mental and physical exhaustion, Djokovic clambered off the canvas from 2-4 down in the fifth set to do it. Fittingly, the 100th Australian men's final was the longest in Grand Slam history at 5hrs 53mins ... For most of the contest, he was superior in defence and attack, mentally besting Nadal to inflict another serious psychological wound on his arch-rival. In the end, it was a dogfight."
The Guardian (United Kingdom): "Djokovic could not have done this without his dancing partner. Nadal confirmed Djokovic's greatness. He also did his own high standing no little harm. He has well and truly come out of his flickering low period. The Spaniard says he is taking February off to rest bones and mind. If he comes back better, we are in for some season."
The New York Times (United States): "The winner never seemed clear until Djokovic’s final shot, an inside-out forehand, bounced twice for a winner with the 15,000-seat arena still close to full. Djokovic fell to the ground, eyes wide, and was soon embracing Nadal, ripping off his own shirt and howling at his support team in the stands ... By the time he got back to his hotel, the sun was coming up in Melbourne. His girlfriend Jelena Ristic was soon asleep, but Djokovic still was not quite ready. He turned on the television and watched - what else? - highlights of the match. 'I didn’t have enough of tennis,' he said. 'So I had to see.'"
L'Equipe (France): "Novak Djokovic is a rock. Over the past year, he has walked on water and it is no longer a miracle."