New Delhi: Sunday night’s Australian Open final was the perfect manifestation of the famed rivalry between two legends that has kept the tennis world mesmerized for more than a decade . While the Swiss ace Roger Federer picked up his title number 18 after an epic win over Spaniard Rafael Nadal, the five-set match could have gone anyone’s way. It took Federer more than three hours and 37 minutes to beat Nadal. What is truly inspiring is that Federer did it at the age of 35 and after returning from a six-month injury lay-off.
Here are some interesting numbers related to Federer’s win in the final and rivalry with Nadal, which very well could become the last time we see them together in a Grand Slam final:
■ Federer won his 18th career Grand Slam title, which also extends his lead over Nadal’s 14 career Grand Slam titles for most in men’s tennis history. Nadal shares the second rank with most Grand Slam titles with US legend Pete Sampras.
■ It was Federer’s fifth Australian Open title. Only Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson have won more Australian Open titles than him. Both have six Australian Open titles.
■ Federer has also won five Grand Slam titles at Wimbeldon and the US Open. And with five Australian Open titles to his name, the Swiss champion is the only man in tennis to win five crowns at three different Grand Slams.
■ Federer was ranked 17th in this year’s Australian Open and he became the second-lowest seeded man to win the Grand Slam in the Open Era. The last man to claim a Grand Slam singles title as a 17th seed was Sampras, when he won the 2002 United States Open. He eventually retired without playing another match on tour.
■ Federer is also the second oldest man to win a Grand Slam title at 35 years of age. Before him, Ken Roswell, 37, won the Australian Open in 1972.
■ Sunday’s match was the 9th meeting between Federer and Nadal in a Grand Slam final.
■ Federer’s win at the Australian Open gives him 61 hardcourt titles including 10 at Grand Slams.
■ Federer had not won a major title since Wimbledon in 2012 and had not beaten Nadal in a Grand Slam final since Wimbledon in 2007.