When the time comes to weigh the best achievements of Roger Federer’s glittering Grand Slam profession, particular moments will resonate above all others.
The first Wimbledon victory back in 2003, which preceded a four-year hegemony over the game that he made 11 majors by the age of 25. In 2007 he won the Australian Open without losing a single set, in 2008 he matched Pete Sampras with a 5th United States Open crown, signing up with both the Swede and the American as five-time winners at two various majors.
Then came the midseason of 2009 where within a month he completed his career Grand Slam at Roland Garros before claiming his 15th slams at Wimbledon, surpassing Sampras’s prize haul in the process.
Even in such business, even all these years later, Australian Open 2017 may well be considered among the grandest of his 18 slams.
At 35, Federer is now the earliest Grand Slam champion in his own life time. Australia’s Ken Rosewall is the just another guy to claim majors in the Open period after celebrating his 35th birthday, the last of which came at the 1972 US Open at the age of 37.
Only two men in Open Age history have waited longer for their next Grand Slam title. Seventeen majors have passed considering that Wimbledon 2012, eclipsing the 16-Slam gap between Andre Agassi’s triumph at the ’95 Australian Open and ’99 French Open.
Federer has beaten Tomas Berdych, Kei Nishikori, Stan Wawrinka and now Rafael Nadal. It should be Nadal who stood in between Federer, and this unlikeliest of accomplishments just serves to add to its legend. The 14-time Grand Slam champ has long controlled his competition with the Swiss, an authority that reached far beyond his clay court expertise in their 35 leagues.
Nadal came into the match with a 9-2 record versus Federer at Grand Slams, integrating wins on clay, yard, and difficult courts. This, their ninth showdown in a significant final, was Nadal’s first Grand Slam defeat.
Federer’s place in the pantheon of tennis greats was guaranteed long earlier, but the case for his place within it has only heightened considering that his previous Grand Slam triumph. In the 5 years because that 17th major win at Wimbledon in 2012, Nadal has gathered 3 majors. Novak Djokovic, who then had 5, now has a dozen. Back in 2012, Serena Williams had won her 14th major the previous day on Centre Court; the other day at Rod Laver Arena, she declared her 23rd– an unparalleled prize haul in the Open age.
So there you have it. Roger Federer, a daddy of four who last year took six months off work to recuperate from arthroscopic knee surgery, has won 7 tennis matches at the 2017 Australian Open– three in 5 sets– to hoist the Norman Brookes Difficulty Cup for the 5th time. At the same time, he has defied age, critics, seeding, and reasoning, and declared the dazzling, hopeless love of sport.
It truly was the most special of success for the unique of gamers. Watch this video to see the Match: