It’s rare that a tennis match stops a nation - let alone the entire world - but that’s exactly what happened during the 2012 Australian Open men’s final.
The match was between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, and it lasted a jaw-dropping five hours and 53 minutes – the longest Grand Slam final of all time. Two tennis players many put in the conversation for greatest of all time, Djokovic sat atop the ATP rankings and Nadal was right behind him at No.2.
They traded brutal blows all night, peaking at an exhausting 31-shot rally that caused Djokovic to fall on his back and sent Nadal stumbling to the sidelines to gather himself.
After the match, Djokovic described the point as an uncontrollable rush.
“I was just thinking of getting some air and trying to recover for next point… Thousand thoughts going through the mind. Trying to separate the right from wrong. Trying to prioritise the next point. I'm playing against one of the best players ever -- the player that is so mentally strong. He was going for everything or nothing."
And it was Novak who finally triumphed, at 1:37am, the final score 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5. He had won a whopping 28 ATP titles to that point, including four Grand Slams.It was also his third Major title in a row - but it was who he beat, and how he won, that really mattered.