Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam title and put some extra distance on the all-time list between himself and Rafael Nadal, the man he beat 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 in a vintage Australian Open final on Sunday night.
It was the 35-year-old Federer’s first major title since Wimbledon in 2012, his first in Australia since 2010, and it reversed the status quo against his nemesis, Nadal.
Both players were returning from extended layoffs — Federer for six months after Wimbledon with an injured left knee; Nadal for a couple of months with an injured left wrist — and were seeded 17th and ninth respectively.
“It’s been a different last six months, I wasn’t sure I was going to make it here but here I am — we made it,” Federer said after accepting the trophy from Australian great Rod Laver, who lends his name to the main stadium at Melbourne Park.
“I would have been happy to lose too, to be honest. The comeback was perfect as it was. Tennis is a tough sport, there’s no draws. If there was going to be one, I would have been happy to have it tonight and share it with Rafa, really.”
Federer had lost six of the previous eight Grand Slam finals he’d played against Nadal, and had only previously beaten the left-handed Spaniard in 11 of their 34 matches.
Nadal remains equal second with Pete Sampras on the all-time list, with the last of Nadal’s 14 majors coming at Roland Garros in 2014.
Source: Associated Press