AT the beginning of the Australian Open as I was writing my preview for the event I quickly noted that Federer and Nadal were on opposite sides of the bracket. This meant that somehow if Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic self imploded and Milos Raonic and Stan Wawrinka fell, that maybe, just maybe we could see a fairytale finale. Fast forward two weeks and not only did those events play out, but we now can undeniably crown Roger Federer the greatest mens tennis player of all time after the two played out an epic final at Rod Laver Arena.
GOING into the final Roger sat atop the list of career Grand Slam wins with a tally of 17 with Rafael Nadal and Pete Sampras tied for 2nd with 14 each. If the ledger was sitting at 17-15 now, Nadal might have a case as the G.O.A.T., but that wasn’t to be. After four sapping sets Nadal and Federer went into the 5th knotted at 2-2. The enthralling final set was tense at the beginning and much like the entire match momentum swung between the two players, changing hands sometimes multiple times in one game. However, much like it has done for the past 15+ years Federer’s backhand executed shots rarely seen on a tennis court before.
Image from dailynewsegypt.com
FOR a 35 year old to win a Grand Slam is a super impressive feat. For a 35 year old to win a Grand Slam after spending the last six months off with injury and play three gruelling five set matches (Nishokori, Wawrinka and Nadal) against some of the best tennis players in the world is nothing short of remarkable. Federer finally got past his biggest rival, whom he had struggled against in the past. Nadal held just about every head to head advantage going into the match. They have met 34 times with Rafa winning 23, including being up 9-7 on hard courts, 3-0 in Aus Open matches, 11-3 in five set matches and 6-2 in Grand Slam Finals. Give Rafa full credit he pushed Federer to the absolute limit, there was nothing left in the tank mentally, form either player, when it was all said and done.
FEDERER and Nadal entered the night considered as the two greatest mens tennis players ever by a majority of people. Some debated their positioning, but even though Nadal fell short he still deserves the title of the 2nd best ever. But that’s a story for another day, today is about Roger. Just like last night the argument between Federer and Nadal went the distance, but in the end when it mattered most, Roger prevailed.