Who saw Federer wins his 18th Grand Slam title in Australia?

We all know who Roger Federer is. Right? Well if you don’t, here he is, in a nutshell.

Dubbed the GOAT (Greatest of All Time) tennis player, he has now won the most Grand Slam Titles with 18, compare with 14 to the second, Pete Sampras.

He has been the world number 1 tennis player, longer than anybody else in the history of the game. 302 weeks VS 286 weeks for his closest rival. Pete Sampras! (source), who retired in 2003.

During his prime, he appeared in 18 out of 19 Grand Slam Finals between 2005 and 2010, winning 12 of them.

That is Roger Federer.

Now, why are we surprise that he won the Australian Open 2017?

Well, first of all, Federer is now 35 years old. His prime is long gone. He is the oldest player in the top 80! You got to go to the number 80 in the world, to find someone of the same age who still competes at that level. By comparison, Murray, world number 1 is 29 years old and Nadal, to whom he played against in the final is 30 years old.

In 2016, the average age in the top 10 in the man game was 28.6 years old.

Secondly, Federer hasn’t competed on the professional circuit since his lost in the Semi-Final to Milos Raonic at Wimbledon, 6 months earlier. Due to injury, our third point.

He comes back from injury.

Due to his absence, Federer was then ranked number 17, giving him a tough draw to reach the final. On the road to the final, he had to beat Berdych, World Number 10; Nishikori, Wn5; Stan Wawrinka, Wn4; and his most competitive rival, Nadal Wn9.

On top of that, for a better preparation, players usually like to play a tournament before a Grand Slam. Out of the 8 players in the quarter-final at the AO, only Federer didn’t play in a tournament leading to the Australian Open.

Very few people thought he will win another Grand Slam after his Wimbledon title in 2012. They have seen a drought of 5 years without a major title in the Federer’s camp. And this is unusual when someone looks at Federer’s career.

The bookies, before the tournament, didn’t predict he could make it to the final. They had him 34/1 against the odd to win the title. A (lucky) punter has bet 1000$. He walked off with 34000$.

The man himself was shocked to make it to the Semis:

“I never thought I would be that good.”. “The quarters are my expectations if the draw is ok.” (interviewed at the end of his quarter-final against Zverev)

And then, here comes the final.

The Final

What an affiche! Federer versus Nadal. For the 35th times.

23-12. Advantage Nadal.

We were all salivating at the match-up, except Roger himself. He couldn’t play this final against someone as threatening as Rafael Nadal. The only player who has such a better record against him. Head to Head.(Djokovic as 1 victory over Federer). The only player who beat him so many times in finals. The man who got under his skin so bad for finding a way to outclass him, the maestro.

I still remember the time when on the podium, Federer cries by despair after losing another time to the Spaniard.

Another reason, why many of us are surprised RF pulled that off.

First set.

6-4 Federer

Second Set.

Break Nadal. 2-0. Another break Nadal 4-0.

Federer gets more forehand into play, more penetration in his shots. 4-1. 4-2.

But it was too late, Nadal won the set 6-3 on a love game.

Third set.

6-1 Federer

Roger breaks Rafa 3 times in this set. A one-way traffic.

Fourth Set.

2-1 Nadal. 15-40 on Roger serves. Roger comes at the net but misses the volley.

3-1 Nadal. Set Nadal. 6-3

Set Nadal. 6-3

Fifth and final set.

The fifth set can go either way. Nadal won the last set so he has the momentum but is the fatigue going to kick in?

Rafa has spent 4hours39 more than Roger on the court leading to the final. (18h16m VS 13h37m)

1st Game: Break Nadal!

Federer will only break back in the 6th game. 3-3.

And then 4-3 Advantage Federer…

5-3. Federer will serve for the match

Behind 0-30 and then 15-40, Roger comes back to Deuce! Oh my!

…..

Advantage Federer. Match point.

Serve on the T, forehand cross court on the line.

Game-Set-Match-Federer.

UN-BE-LIE-VABLE!!

After 3.5h, Roger Federer wins his 5th Australian Open title, 5 years after winning his last major. He adds up his 18th Grand Slam title. Unseen! Unreal!

Against all the odd, Roger Federer, whose career has been remarkable on the court and outside of it, add another chapter to his legacy. At 35, he becomes the second oldest male player to win a Grand Slam, after Ken Rosewall who at 37 years of age, won the Australian open in 1972.

At 35, he becomes the second oldest male player to win a Grand Slam, after Ken Rosewall who at 37 years of age, won the Australian open in 1972.

Can we see Roger Federer performs on central stage at 37? Can we see him win another Grand Slam title pass 37?

After watching him played for 20 years, after being admired by his class, his level of play, his consistency through his career, his professionalism and now the Australian Open final 2017; I know that Roger Federer can still surprise us.

For you guys who missed the highlights of the final. And the stats.

Antoine Barthelemy