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Happy Slam Reflections: Day 14

Photo of the day: Fantastic final.

Match of the day: [1] Novak Djokovic def [2] Rafael Nadal 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7, 7-5 to defend his Australian Open title and win his career fifth Grand Slam title.

The test of time: Tonight’s Men’s Final was the in the longest final in Grand Slam history – 5 hours and 53 minutes long.

Mixed doubles champions crowned: Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Horia Tecau def Elena Vesnina and Leander Paes 6-3, 5-7, 10-3 to win the first Grand Slam title of any kind for each of them.

On the bright side: After his loss, Rafa said “So very happy about the beginning of the 2012 season. That’s all that I can say… Important thing for me, during all 2011 I didn’t play much like this. I’m happy I am in the real right way.”

No replay please:
Q.  Are you going to watch it again on videotape?
Rafael Nadal:  Too long. (Laughter.) Highlights only.

In the crowd: Rod Laver, Prince Edward, Duke of Kent, Footballer Harry Kewell and his wife Sheree Murphy, Gold Coast Suns’ AFL captain Gary Ablett, Businessman James Packer, Pat Rafter, Actor Eric Bana and wife Rebecca Gleeson, Actress Diana Glenn, Miss Universe Australia Rachael Finch, actress Radha Mitchel, Victorian Premier Ted Baillieu and Australian Open women’s champion Victoria Azarenka.

Quick Celebration:
Q.  I heard you have a flight in half an hour; is that right?
Bethanie Mattek-Sands:  Yeah.  It’s like, Yay, we won.  I have to go to the airport in half an hour.
Horia Tecau:  Yeah.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands:  We had champagne in the women’s locker room, so we’re going to have a little celebration. (Laughing.)
Horia Tecau:  The women’s locker room…
Bethanie Mattek-Sands:  There’s no other women in there unfortunately, but, you know…

Moment to remember forever:
Q.  Obviously this is different from what you do most of the year, but where does this rank among your achievements?  Is this the top line?
Horia Tecau:  Yeah. It’s a Grand Slam title.
Bethanie Mattek-Sands:  It’s a Grand Slam title. (Laughing.)  Yeah, it’s top.

Greatest win: When asked if this was the greatest win of his life, Djokovic said “Ah, yes. Right now, yes. Probably Wimbledon because Wimbledon is right up there next to this one because it’s just the tournament that I always dreamed of winning. But this one I think comes out on the top because just the fact that we played almost six hours is incredible, incredible. I think it’s probably the longest finals in the history of all Grand Slams, and just to hear that fact is making me cry, really.”

Up for anything:
Q. Can you talk us through your postmatch celebration with the shirt ripping, et cetera, and do you have energy to celebrate further tonight?
Novak Djokovic:  I don’t know. It’s already 4:00 a.m. I don’t know how far I can go, but right now I’m up for everything. (Laughter.)
Q.  Maybe some breakfast?
Novak Djokovic: Breakfast?
Q.  Yeah.
Novak Djokovic:  I don’t know. Food is not on my mind right now. (Smiling.)

FYI: Before the tournament started, I filled out brackets on Tennis Channel’s Racquet Bracket Challenge and picked Djokovic and Azarenka to win – the first time I’ve ever picked both champions correctly. Of course I don’t win anything (the rest of my draws were a mess!) but my ego is doing pretty well. Maybe I’ll go buy a lottery ticket!

A final thank you: A huge thank you to the entire Tennis Australia team and all of those who work at the Australian Open. A thanks to the media team for inviting me to be a  FANBassador and their incredible work through their social media channels – connecting the world over the fortnight for the love of tennis. You all are amazing! Lastly, to the players – thank you for making our sport what it is, the best sport in the world, and giving us moments of greatness we’ll never forget. Looking forward to the rest of 2012!

(Photos: Getty Images)

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