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Tearful Djokovic feels weight of history

ESPN staff
January 30, 2012 « Holloway backs Harry over cut of transfer profits | Chartbeat test »
Novak Djokovic came out on top after an epic struggle with Rafael Nadal on Sunday © PA Photos
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World No. 1 Novak Djokovic is thrilled to know that his name will echo down the ages in Melbourne after he claimed the Australian Open title by beating Rafael Nadal on Sunday.

Djokovic lifted his third Australian Open crown with a 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7(5) 7-5 triumph that lasted seven minutes short of six hours - a match that has already been spoken of as one of the best in the sport's rich history.

"It was the longest grand-slam final of all time," Djokovic said. "Just hearing that fact makes me cry. I am very proud to be a part of history, to be among the elite group of players who have won this trophy several times. I had a lot of chances to win it in four sets but he deserved to prolong it and then really both of us could have won the match, it could have gone either way."

Nadal was unable to end his Djokovic hoodoo, and has now lost each of his last seven meetings against the Serb, who has emerged as the leading light in the men's game over the past 12 months. However, he is refusing to become disheartened by that run of defeats, and instead is aiming to absorb some tough lessons and come back stronger.

"You look around and you see the watch, five hours, four hours, three hours, finally five hours 53. It seems like it's never going to finish," Nadal said. "But it's nice to be there fighting, trying to go to the limit. It's something I really enjoy and I always said it is good to suffer. When you are fit and have passion for the game you are able to enjoy suffering."

In the women's world rankings, Victoria Azarenka has been confirmed as the new world No. 1 after she beat Maria Sharapova to claim the Australian Open title.

Men's rankings: 1. Novak Djokovic (SRB), 2. Rafael Nadal (ESP), 3. Roger Federer (SUI), Andy Murray (GBR), 5. David Ferrer (ESP), 6. Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA), 7. Tomas Berdych (CZE), 8. Mardy Fish (USA), 9. Janko Tipsarevic (SRB), 10. Juan Martin Del Potro (ARG).

Women's: 1. Victoria Azarenka (BLR), 2. Petra Kvitova (CZE), 3. Maria Sharapova (RUS), 4. Caroline Wozniacki (DEN), 5. Sam Stosur (AUS), 6. Agnieszka Radwanska (POL), 7. Marion Bartoli (FRA), 8. Vera Zvonareva (RUS), 9. Li Na (CHN), 10. Andrea Petkovic (GER).

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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