An Australian Open final between two ageless champions turned out to be a tennis match for the ages, with Roger Federer beating Rafael Nadal in five outstanding sets.
Roger Federer of Switzerland defeated Spain’s Rafael Nadal 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 to win his 18th Grand Slam
Federer was forced to endure a nervous wait for his victory after Nadal unsuccessfully challenged the line call on the second championship point.
But he was finally able to celebrate with tears in his eyes after coming out on top after three hours and 38 minutes of enthralling tennis to become the first man to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slams.
“There are no draws in tennis but I would have been happy to share one with Rafa tonight,” he said.
“I wasn’t sure if I was going to make it. I hope to see you next year and if not it’s been a wonderful run here.”
Nadal, the 2009 champion, was typically gracious after losing his third Melbourne final and coming up short in his bid for a 15th Grand Slam title.
“Congrats to Roger, just amazing the way he’s playing after so long away from the tour,” the 30-year-old said.
“It’s been a great month for me; I worked a lot to get where I am today. It was a great match and I think Roger probably deserved it a little more than me. I will keep on fighting.”
With his victory, Federer becomes the first man to take five or more titles at three grand slam events and, at 35, the second-oldest man behind Ken Rosewall to win a major singles trophy.