- Associated Press - Monday, January 30, 2012

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA (AP) - Novak Djokovic has that unbeatable feeling.

And well he should.

The Serb outlasted Rafael Nadal to defend his Australian Open title in the longest ever Grand Slam final and become the fifth man to win three straight majors in the Open Era.

Djokovic now has the French Open _ the one major to elude him _ in his sights. He won’t even rule out the ultimate: the Grand Slam.

“One player (Rod Laver) has done it, so it is possible,” he said after the traditional post-victory photo shoot in a downtown Melbourne park on Monday. “Obviously the times are different and tennis nowadays is much more competitive and much more physical. And that makes that challenge more difficult to achieve. But everything is possible.”

With the London Olympics to follow Wimbledon this year, Djokovic could even make it a Golden Slam by winning the gold medal at London 2012 to go with the four majors.

“The facts are that I’m at the peak of my career,” Djokovic said. “I feel physically and mentally at the peak, I feel strong, I feel motivated, I feel eager to win more trophies.”

Having slept for only a few hours, Djokovic dispensed with the band and the raucous dressing room celebrations that marked his victory last year, choosing to strum the air guitar and belt out a few lyrics from “Highway To Hell.”

Djokovic recalled the brief celebrations after the match at Rod Laver Arena and made a half-hearted attempt to sing the refrain from the AC/DC rock anthem. His legs were too tired, and his throat a bit hoarse. “Oh man, I’m tired.”

And so he should be. Djokovic completed a 5-hour, 53-minute 5-7, 6-4, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 7-5 victory over Nadal at 1:37 a.m. _ ending an epic match with a forehand winner that finally finished off the Spaniard.

He defied exhaustion to tear off his shirt and flex his bare torso as he made his way to celebrate with friends and family. He was still doing interviews after 4 a.m.

It didn’t leave much time for celebrating. Unlike his victory at the 2011 Australian Open, when he beat his friend Andy Murray in straight sets and then kicked off an all-night party with a rock band in the locker room.

“I didn’t have any more energy left to celebrate,” Djokovic said Monday. “I was preferring my bed.”

When he awoke not long after, his body reminded him not just of the incredible events of the previous evening, nearly six hours of physically punishing tennis against one of the game’s most ferociously competitive athletes, but also of a near five-hour semifinal two nights earlier against Murray.

“I felt lots of pain all over the body,” he said. “The adrenaline is still there and I still am very excited about what I have experienced here in the last two weeks and especially last night. I’m full of joy, but I think still I don’t have a real sense of what’s going on.”

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