Tennis Identity

Roger Federer wins the Australian Open

GOATRoger Federer and Rafa Nadal engaged in another epic battle Sunday night in Melbourne, with Federer claiming his 18th Grand Slam singles title with a 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, in a 3-hour, 38-minute contest. Federer came back from a 3-1 deficit to claim the title. They’ll be talking about this one for years.

This one had tennis fans on edge- Federer hadn’t won a Slam since the 2012 Wimbledon final, and Nadal hasn’t held a Slam title trophy since 2014. Both players have been beset with various injuries, and fans wondered if they would ever see a Slam final between these two tennis titans again. Tennis players rarely beat Father Time.

Fans got their wish. Check out these videos! (Fed, Rafa and Serena gear on sale at Tennis Warehouse, just sayin.’)

On ESPN, Federer said, “Every match against Rafa is epic. But I did believe I had the game and the mental and physical capabilities to do this again. … When I look back at the last years when I was fit — 2015, ’12, ’11 — I was really close [at the Slams]. I never lost belief.”

Nadal still holds a commanding 23-12 lead in head-to-head battles, but that doesn’t matter for the moment. ESPN says “at 35 years old, Federer is the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title since Ken Rosewall in 1972. Rosewall won the Australian Open at 37 years old that year.” Cynics may point to the earlier than expected AO exits of players like Murray and Djokovic as a contributing factor to the win, but the fact remains you still have to beat whoever is on the other side of the net. And Nadal is as worthy an opponent as you will ever find.

This one will be especially satisfying for Federer, who has been off the tour since last summer to rehab from injuries. “I didn’t want to go down just making shots and seeing forehands rained down on me by Rafa,” Federer said on ESPN. “I told myself play free. Be free in your head, be free in your shots. Just go for it. The brave will be rewarded here.”

What’s next for the 18-time Slam champion?

Federer said, “We’re going to be partying like rock stars tonight, I can tell you that.”

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