Australia Open, Melbourne numerous watched the final match of the day, legendary Roger Federer vs. Nadal.
After missing the second half of last season with a knee injury, the Swiss star came into Australian Open Sunday not im good shape, and turning the tables on nemesis Rafael Nadal with a gripping 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory in just over 3 1/2 hours.
“I don’t think either one of us believed we were going to be in the finals at the Australian Open… four, five months ago, and here we stand in the finals,” Federer said to CNN.
Federer toke that advantage obviously got what he deserved, “This is beautiful, but it’s still much better, the (other) trophy,” Nadal said as he looked glumly at the runner-up trophy.
Federer wept when losing to Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final in five sets. This time he cried tears of joy and vowed to celebrate deep into the morning.
26-shot rally! “We’re going to party like rock stars,” Federer said to CNN. Never in his “wildest dreams” did the Swiss even expect to make the final, especially since he was handed a tough draw.
The 35-year-old and second oldest man behind Ken Rosewall to win a major in the Open Era 18th major and first since Wimbledon in 2012.
He compared the win in importance to the 2009 French Open when he claimed the clay-court major for the first and only time. Nadal was the man who had habitually stopped him in Paris.
“I waited for the French Open,” he said. “I tried. I fought. I tried again and failed. Eventually I made it. This feels similar.”
Federer had to do it the hard way, too, rallying from 3-1 down in the fifth. He rarely takes medical timeouts but did so entering the fifth set against Stan Wawrinka in the semifinals and at the same stage versus Nadal.
It was for the same issue, an upper leg complaint, consistently threatened on the Nadal serve and finally got his reward for 3-3 — after Nadal’s forehand on game point clipped Roger Federer beats Rafael Nadal in Australian Open final for 18th major Federer led 40-0 on serve, only to face not one, not two, but three break points. On all three he slammed aces out wide. Aces would dig Federer out of trouble on at least half a dozen break points.
The Key third set Nadal was broken in the ensuing game when Federer pounced on a return to force a forehand error. And unlike Federer who hit 20 aces, Nadal wasn’t able to get much help from his serve. He countered with four aces.
Federer’s backhand his weaker wing often targeted by Nadal — more than held up, too, including in the fifth. Eight of his 14 backhand winners came in the decider.
“Before the fifth he also hit it incredibly,” co-coach Severin Luthi told a group of reporters. “I think here we can play like that, the court the way it is.”
The last time two players over 30 played in a men’s grand slam final was at the 2002 US Open, a swansong in another epic rivalry, between Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi.