Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal created history today in the 2012 Australian Open Men’s Singles Final by playing the longest Men’s Tennis Grand Slam Singles Final in the history of the Open era. The match lasted a total of grueling 5 hours and 53 minutes with Novak Djokovic winning in the end by a scoreline of 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 7-5 in his favour. I don’t know what the experts will say but for me it is the greatest Men’s Tennis Grand Slam Singles Final ever and has the potential of being the best Men’s Singles tennis match ever!
Even though many people probably rate the Federer versus Nadal match of the 2008 Wimbledon Men’s Singles Grand Slam Final as the greatest match ever played in the history of the game but I beg to differ on various counts. Though the match displayed incredible duels between two feisty players and lasted a staggering 4 hours and 48 minutes time with several rain delays but actually the match would have been over in three sets if there had not been a rain delay with Nadal being the beneficiary.
In that match Federer was always trying to play catch-up tennis to the aggression of Nadal and eventually succumbed to his doggedness. Even though it requires great courage and determination to take a match, that too a Wimbledon Final, to five sets after losing the first two sets hands-down and your adversary all over you but it is for this very reason according to me it cannot be proclaimed as the greatest Men’s Singles Grand Slam Final ever played.
I am in no way demeaning that match or even Federer. Two great players were on display even in that match and that match still stands and will continue to stand as one of the greatest match ever played in tennis history along with a few others but it cannot be branded as the best Men’s Singles tennis match ever or even the best Men’s Singles Grand Slam final ever is all what I am saying. Having said all of that I must say that the final part of that match produced a brand of tennis by both players that is of the highest class and not even half that quality was evident in the primary stages.
In contrast today’s final was a titanic battle that tested the strength, stamina, skill, precision, perseverance and mental toughness of the very best to the hilt. Both the players had to dig deep into their reserves for that extra bit of zing and motivation to step up a gear at key moments of the match. It happened that somehow Djokovic managed to squeeze through in the end but it could very well have happened the other way round when Nadal was leading 4-2 in the final set.
Both Djokovic and Nadal played a remarkable brand of tennis covering every inch of the turf over which they were playing and flirting with the lines with awesome ease. It was a test of supreme athleticism at its very best that can even astound a champion sprinter. There was a display of baseline hitting at its very best with astounding returns getting better by the minute because of their sheer quality.
Though Djokovic had a slight mental edge over Rafa coming in today’s final after beating him in the past two Grand Slam finals and several other ATP Tournament Finals but once the match got underway it started swaying back and forth towards both opponents and it was hard to predict the eventual winner till the last shot had been made. Even though Djokovic was the eventual winner in the end but I feel tennis has been the real winner to see a match of this calibre.