It's miserably cold in New York, so I decided to stay in, stay warm and stay up to watch the Australian Open men's final, live from Melbourne. My qualifications to do this are as follows:
1. I played tennis in high school and had my name consistently misspelled by local papers printing reported scores
2. I taught tennis to children during college summers and gave them all rad nicknames
3. I was a ball boy (the term "ball person" didn't exist then) at the Mercedes-Benz Cup at UCLA and got drilled by a Goran Ivanisevic serve
4. I (unsuccessfully) tried out to be a ball person at the 2012 US Open
5. I have a couch, TV, coffeemaker and 37 percent of a Reese's Pieces box at my beck and call.
I may lose my mind, but with my new Rod Lavers laced up, here we go with one of those diary things that seem so popular with the kids.
2:52 a.m. -- Chris McKendry alerts us that the two Djokovic-Murray grand slam finals last, on average, four hours and 52 minutes, or the length of Victoria Azarenka's ideal bathroom break when tennis gets hard (aww). Little tennis humor there, folks.
3 a.m. - Andy Murray's graphics headshot features a Murray smile, which is jarring and a borderline stereotype. I don't care to check, but I imagine it's what comes up when you type "Scotland" into Google Image search.
3:03 a.m. - Both of these players are likable humans with tedious games. I'm calling 11-9 in the fifth for Djokovic, which means I'm about to watch 76,431 pre-serve Djokovic ball bounces.
3:06 a.m. - Pretty great that ESPN likes tennis or else it probably wouldn't really exist in America. Thanks for the airtime, hockey.
3:12 a.m. - The best American tennis player in the world is John Isner, who is a big, violent server and, well... a big, violent server. He withdrew from the Australian Open with a knee injury. This has been your American tennis update.
3:15 a.m. - Tom Rinaldi is on set and here we go with an emotional piece about endurance. It features more bare abs than any Rinaldi piece I've ever seen (unless I've missed a Spurrier feature). I picture Rinaldi in the editing bay never getting sufficient ab glisten. MOAR GLISTEN.
3:21 a.m. - The match apparently doesn't start until 3:45 a.m. I'm taking a disco nap, BRB.
3:25 a.m. - Couldn't sleep, too excited. Fowler and McEnroe are wearing Auburn-colored ties. War Damn Robotic Baseline Consistency.
3:41 a.m. - Almost therrrrrre. Oh, and the first pot of coffee is ready. Almond milk time, no big deal.
3:47 a.m. - We're underway and on serve. Does anyone know if the Dish Network hopper technology will have a built-in skipper to get past Djokovic ball bouncing?
3:57 a.m. - Murray going offensive early. Always weird to see either of these gents at the net.
4:01 a.m. - Murray's getting better depth with his groundies, partially because he hits a flatter ball, but also because he's moving Novak around more than Novak is moving him. Djoko is looking lazy spraying or dumping shots into the net. Weird.
4:03 a.m. - I hate the swinging volley. It's dumb. Stop doing it.
4:09 a.m. - I also hate Murray's half backhand follow through. Great for returns, leads to mistakes when he relies on it too much mid-point.
4:11 a.m. - Djokovic is getting break opportunities six games in aaaaaaand Murray serves his way out of it. This match is going to end as the Super Bowl starts.
4:17 a.m. - Djokovic needs to keep mixing up how much he attacks the net, he's been quite good (7/8 points) at the net.
4:18 a.m. - Uniqlo socks exist. I've seen them in close-up HD 41 times in seven games.
4:38 a.m. - Fast forward to 5-5 in the first set. We're an hour in. Novak doing a better job controlling points, and all it took was a bloody elbow. Literally, his elbow is bloody.
4:41 a.m. - Murray's still winning more of the long points than not. Seems like a good factoid to file away. I promise to not use "factoid" again tonight.
4:45 a.m. - At a certain point, ESPN decided to go all 1000fps with their replays. Andy Murray isn't necessarily... suited to be constantly shown at 1000fps.
4:48 a.m. - Murray up a mini break in the first set breaker as Djokovic is pressing. Not sure it matters this early, but Murray's returns have him immediately in Djokovic service points.
4:54 a.m. - First set goes to Murray 7-6. Djokovic has looked impatient and unwilling to set up points. Dumb.
4:57 a.m. - First set went about 68 minutes. This one should be much faster.
4:59 a.m. - Murray's basically Scottish Pong -- a total wall early in the second.
5:02 a.m. - Kevin Spacey's there. So that's where he's been, I guess.
5:04 a.m. - Djokovic fights off some early break points, one of which included the rare and unnecessary jump volley. Keepin' it spicy.
5:08 a.m - These two are playing 20-25-30 stroke points in the middle of the Australian summer. Somehow, their hamstrings are cramping less than mine are while watching in a frozen Brooklyn.
5:10 a.m. - Murray starting to go for too much early in points, which... doesn't really work against Djokovic.
5:16 a.m. - I really like both of these players and sort of hate watching them play each other. If you've seen them play five points, you've kind of seen them all.
5:17 a.m. - Starting to yawn, pouring myself more coffee. MOAR GLISTEN
5:20 a.m. - Djokovic kicks a ball (impressively) after he pushes a ball long. And now, he bounced a racquet. NOW I can start identifying.
5:30 a.m. - Acorn Stairlifts has a lot of commercial time during the match. To be truly accurate, a lot more of the lift users should be wearing SEC polos.
5:36 a.m. - I just spaced out thinking about bagels. I'm hungry. Also, I really like how Australians say "fifteen." Fivdeen.
5:38 a.m. - Murray, for the moment, is picking his moments to rip it. More defense at this point than anything.
5:40 a.m. - Now I'm thinking ham and onion scramble.
5:44 a.m. - These two are still terrified of attacking approach shots. Kirk Ferentz is fine with this.
5:47 a.m. - "How's your Serbian?" -- a harmless Chris Fowler aside that I choose to laugh at out of context
5:51 a.m. - Another breaker, I was wrong about this set being shorter. The Lavers have been untied.
5:52 a.m. - I have no mathematical evidence to support this, but Andy Murray is a terrible replay challenger. Mack Brown just recruited him as a replay challenger.
5:55 a.m. - Mini break to Djokovic, which means my garlic unicorn scramble will have to wait. I may need more caffeine.
6 a.m. - The second set to the Serbian 7-6. And now we see a close-up of Murray's foot blisters. I no longer want the scramble.
6:03 a.m. - I want to hang out with gleefully singing Serbians.
6:11 a.m. - Fowler just said we're basically starting over as a best-of-three match. Well, when you put it like that... shit.
6:12 a.m - Almost just kicked my coffee mug over. Take that, consciousness.
6:23 a.m - No breaks two hours and forty minutes in. Blerg.
6:25 a.m. - Just put on some Natalie Imbruglia for some local flavor and a fourth wind. No regrets.
6:35 a.m. - A point just went 36 shots, or as it's called here, two minutes with the Gronkowski family.
6:37 a.m. - A break! Tennis!
6:39 a.m. - The third set goes to Vlade Divac's friend, Novak, 6-3. Djoko may have just cracked the code. Or he just started playing better. Or Andy Murray is growing a town of intricate blisters on a foot. They're all equally possible.
6:41 a.m. - ESPN keeps showing Djokovic being wildly successful when he attacks and closes. Let's see if he figures this out for himself.
6:44 a.m. - The sun is now inexplicably coming up. My Pro Bowl day is going to be COMPLETELY thrown off.
6:52 a.m. - Break point Murray aaaaaand... Djokovic serves out of it. If this all isn't a weird symbolic LSU football fever dream, I don't know what is.
6:59 a.m. - Another break for Djokovic. He just needs to hold at this point and he'll do the whole screaming snow angel collapse thing he does. I like it. Whatever.
7:01 a.m. - Good mix of spins from Novak during the second, third and fourth. It's kept Murray from getting into a definitive rhythm.
7:04 a.m. - As much as I prefer the more creative styles of other players, the resiliency and focus of Djokovic is incredible. Never doubts himself and his game for a second.
7:04 a.m. - Can't say enough good things about the chair ump's bed head faux hawk. Strong showing.
7:07 a.m. - A ball dribbles out of Murray's pocket. That sounded wrong, but I'm going with it.
7:11 a.m. - Another break for Djoker. The jello is jiggling, etc -- this thing is over.
7:16 a.m. - Filthy forehand angle from Djokovic. I really do believe he could play another four sets at a high level.
7:26 a.m. -- There you have it, Novak Djokovic (with a primal scream) is your 2013 Australian Open champion. He got stronger and smarter as the match went on and is moving further and further away from the international tennis pack.
I, for one, continue to welcome our continued tennis overlord. Good night (morning).