Djokovic is super-human
I assure you I'm not, but I feel hungover.
You find me demolishing a takeaway, watching a re-run of the final set and wondering, in that hazy, morning-after way, what on earth happened and was it for real?!
My head feels like the opening scenes from "The Hangover" movies. Something pretty major happened last night. I think.
Yes it did, the TV tells me so. It's just a case of piecing it all together to establish how.
So, apart from half a chicken, doused in reality-awakening hot sauce, the only thing that can save me is my trusty notepad.
At the end of most major finals these days, this looks like the dossier of a maths whizz, or crazed computer programmer - all numbers, circles, marks and scrawls.
Jonathan Overend's maths wizardry says this was one of the greatest Grand Slam finals in modern times. Photo: BBC
It tells me this was one of the greatest matches of all time. The longest Grand Slam final by almost an hour, the longest match in Australian Open history and, most importantly, an era-defining epic in the same way the Federer-Nadal Wimbledon final from 2008 was.
That, I still believe, having paused for some contemplation and sweetcorn between last sentence and this, was a better match.
The level of both men that afternoon and gloomy evening at SW19 was so consistently high throughout and it remains the most memorable contest I have seen or commentated on.
Last night the first set was cagey and not great quality. Sets two and three were dominated by Djokovic. Nadal was too deep and dropping too many balls short. At that stage it was not a classic.
But what made the Australian Open final of 2012 so remarkable was the intensity, the rage, the rebellion, the sheer quality, so late in the match.
Remember both Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal had been severely tested in the second week of this tournament.
Novak by Lleyton Hewitt, David Ferrer and Andy Murray, Rafa by Berdych and Federer.
Both were running on fumes towards the end of the final but, in the sixth hour of their furious fight, they produced some of the best tennis of the fortnight. Some of the best tennis we've ever seen.
And I thought Djokovic was gone. Three times.
I thought he was gone at the end of the fourth set when Nadal levelled the match and fell to his knees.
Rafael Nadal falls on his knees after recovering from 2-1 down to level the match 2-2. Photo: Getty
What an image, that will stay with me forever.
And who could blame him? It was an incredible recovery having trailed 3-4 0-40 in that fourth set. His serve had more bite, his depth was greater and his flashing forehand came out to play.
I've never seen someone celebrate like that with a match still in progress.
I thought Djokovic was all but gone in the seventh game of the decider. Nadal led 4-2 and, at 30-15, had a relatively straightforward backhand pass up the line. But he put it wide, lost his serve and Novak was suddenly back in it.
And then, after the first point of the ninth game, I thought Djokovic really had gone. After five-and-a-half hours, a 31-shot rally played out on the Nadal serve saw fierce hitting, unerring accuracy, intensity rising with every blow. Djokovic finally missed and collapsed to the floor.
The magnificent Nadal bounced and snarled. Game over? It felt like it.
But a final twist remained in the script as Djokovic, somehow, found first-serve after first-serve, deep forehand after deep forehand, thunderous return after thunderous return. He won the last three games with skill, guts and total self-belief.
And so this amazing era just keeps pushing boundaries and moving the sport to unknown, uncharted territories.
From now on it's all about match-ups. Djokovic has Nadal's number, just as Nadal dominates Federer. Federer enjoys playing Novak more than Rafa and Andy Murray plays his best against Nadal, although got so close to Djokovic.
We are nearing the point where we need to start awarding draws in tennis. Get them back for a replay in midweek. Djokovic won that final but it felt like a point apiece.
And I get the impression the players - the leading quartet - are becoming increasing philosophical in defeat. Murray sounded positive and relaxed after losing to Djokovic, while Nadal dealt with defeat with his customary humour and graciousness.
Federer also seemed at peace despite losing in the semis.
Yes, a loss hurts but that's offset by the enjoyment and reward of playing in the greatest era. The knowledge that, some day soon, each will have his day against someone else in this golden group.
For now, Djokovic is the undisputed number one. He has won three consecutive majors, four of the last five, and at Roland Garros will try to hold all four at the same time.
Over a 54-hour period, from 7.30pm Friday to 1.30am Monday local time, he spent almost 11 hours playing incredible tennis against two of the best players in the world.
He won both matches 7-5 in the fifth set. He is super-human.
Djokovic really is a true champion of modern day sport.