Novak Djokovic savoured the most dramatic win of his career, despite being left with bleeding toes and "outrageous" pain in his record Australian Open final victory over Rafael Nadal.
Djokovic's thrilling five-set win over the Spaniard, the longest major singles final at five hours and 53 minutes, makes him just the fifth player in open history to win three straight grand slam titles.
"You're in pain, you're suffering, you know that you're trying to activate your legs, you're trying to push yourself another point, just one more point, one more game," he said.
"You're going through so much suffering your toes are bleeding. Everything is just outrageous, you know, but you're still enjoying that pain."
The 24-year-old Djokovic says his Wimbledon triumph last year had been special, but the Melbourne win was even better.
"This one I think comes out on the top just because of the fact that we played almost six hours is incredible, incredible," he said.
Djokovic added that now felt ready for a shot at the French Open, the next major on the calendar, where his best result is reaching the semi-finals.
"So I want to do well and I want to get to my first final at least in Paris. I have never been in the final there and I have a feeling that I'm ready this year to achieve that," he said.
Djokovic's 2011 season left commentators short of superlatives as the Serb won a total of 10 titles and went on a 41-match winning streak, until Roger Federer beat him in the semi-finals in Paris.
"I'm prioritising grand slams this year, as every year, and Olympic Games. I think that's one of my highest goals," he said.
"That doesn't mean of course that I'm not going to prepare well and perform my best in the other tournaments. It's just that, you know, the grand slams matter the most."
Djokovic says he will now take time to savour his triumph before he returns to the tennis courts to prepare for the rest of the season.
"I'm not really concerned about the rest of the year how physically I'm going endure and all of that," he said.
"It's just the start of the year. I'm going to have some weeks off now, and I'm going try to enjoy this victory as much as I can.
"Then back to office, you know, back to work, preparation. There is much that awaits for me, but I definitely should enjoy the present moment."
AFPTags: tennis, sport, australian-open, melbourne-3000 First posted January 30, 2012 06:58:26