It was one for the ages.
Tennis received a major jolt this weekend when top seed Novak Djokovic outlasted No. 2 Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 in a 5 hour and 53 minute marathon to win his third Australian Open title.
Djokovic, 24, became the fifth man since the Open Era began in 1968 to win three straight Grand Slam finals. It was the longest final ever, and was nearly an hour longer than the previous longest final when Mats Wilander defeated Ivan Lendl at the 1988 US Open.
We made history tonight and unfortunately there couldn't be two winners, Djokovic said of the duel with Nadal.
From a statistic standpoint, the match was extremely even. Djokovic committed 69 unforced errors, while Nadal committed 71. Nadal had 10 aces while Djokovic had nine.
That's gotta be the toughest defeat of [Nadal's] career, said legend John McEnroe, and current ESPN analyst.
McEnroe felt that Djokovic should have won in four sets, but that it was Nadal's sheer will that made the match go as long as it did. Nadal had a chance to put Djokovic away in the fifth set, but couldn't manage to hold on.
Take a look at the highlights from Djokovic and Nadal at the Aussie Open: