Shirtless Djokovic goes on first set racquet rampage

Chris Chase

If the headline sounds too salacious, it's because first sets that begin at 3:40 a.m. ET and end at 5 a.m. ET tend to lead to such hyperbole, especially before the first pot of coffee has been brewed. But, rest assured, a shirtless Novak Djokovic did break a racquet in disgust midway through his first-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the finals of the 2012 men's Australian Open.

The defending tournament champion was broken early in the first set of Sunday night's match and reacted as all the great champions, from Bill Tilden to Ivan Lendl to Pete Sampras have: He took off his shirt and threw his racquet on the ground.

Djokovic's racquet and wardrobe change (from a white shirt to a black shirt), provided some immediate help, as he broke back to even the match at three. A later Nadal break gave the Spaniard the first set. It was a positive development for Rafa: He's won the first set 134 times in Grand Slams matches. He's gone on to win 133 of them.