Rafael Nadal soothed his disappointment at yet another loss to Novak Djokovic in tennis' longest ever grand slam final by declaring he was at least free of the mental chokehold the Serb had placed him under throughout last year.
The Spaniard threw everything at world number one Djokovic in the Australian Open final but still came up agonisingly short to lose 5-7 6-4 6-2 6-7 7-5 in an almost 6 hour marathon on Rod Laver Arena.
Having appeared on the verge of collapse, Dokovic fought back to complete an astonishing victory and condemn Nadal to his third successive grand slam final loss to the Serb.
Djokovic says Nadal would have been a deserved champion in Melbourne.
It was Djokovic's fifth grand slam title and his third Australian Open crown.