Federer Wins 18th Slam at Australian Open

It was due, wasn’t it? Federer has been knocking hard at the door of his 18th slam title in in his last four slams but Djokovic kept denying him. So all credit to him for not losing hope and keeping the faith.

When he called it a season last year after Wimbledon things weren’t looking promising. Some feared the end was near. But then he comes back after six months off and wins his 18th slam in his first tournament back.

And that against his nemesis Nadal with a scoreline of 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. It seems too good to be true. Going into the match I actually felt Federer had a chance because it felt like he was due after all the near misses in his last four slams.

Especially the final losses against Djokovic at Wimbledon and the US Open. You felt like he was playing well enough to win a slam but Djokovic was just taking tennis to a whole new level. But credit to Federer for taking advantage of the early loss of Djokovic.

He had the same opportunity at Wimbledon last year but there Raonic stopped him. I guess the break did Federer really well and was exactly what he needed. It’s a ridiculous story and I still find it hard to believe.

I mean I wasn’t looking past Nishikori as far as Federer’s draw went. How does he go from six months out of the sport to winning a grand slam in his first event back, at 35? It seems insane but it happened.

I have never seen someone reach Djokovic’s level of tennis and completeness as a tennis player but this is something else too. Federer’s achievement doesn’t quite match Djokovic’s personal slam but if you look at the bigger picture it does.

That is 18 slam titles and the most recent one at the age of 35. I’ve said for a while now that Federer’s level is still unbelievably high and now you will see all the Fedfans all of a sudden agreeing with me.

There was no doubt in my mind that he would win another slam if he kept the level that he showed against Djokovic at Wimbledon and the US Open in 2015. What I didn’t think would happen is that he would be back to that level after six months out of the sport.

You also have to give him loads of credit for slaying the demons of the past and especially the 2009 Australian Open final. The court speed no doubt helped because Nadal constantly looked rushed but Federer deserved that bit of help with how conditions have been slowed down on tour in recent years.

Coming back from a break down in the fifth against Nadal is another shocker in an Australian Open full of shockers. Nadal was uncharacteristically un-clutch. I think it was at 3-2 in the fifth on his serve and game point where he missed a routine forehand.

That was unlike Nadal who is normally so clinical but Federer played a big role in that by keeping the pressure on Nadal and never giving up hope. I mean you just have to give him credit for that. His backhand didn’t break down the way it usually does against Nadal.

And even when Nadal turned things around coming back from 2-1 down in sets to go a break up in the fifth he kept believing. He finally slew those Nadal demons which took huge courage. I’m happy for him.

Things had come full circle and you could see what it meant to him when the final hawkeye review went his way. As someone who was once a fan of his, it was hard not to feel happy for him.

As far as his fans go, as annoying as they can be, they had to wait almost five years for #18 and suffered many brutal losses at the hands of Djokovic in recent times. There was the 2014 Wimbledon final that went right down to the wire, the 2015 Wimbledon final, the 2015 US Open final, and last year’s Australian Open semi-finals.

You’d have to be a pretty ungrateful and cold-hearted Djokovic fan if you can’t at least allow Federer and his fans this moment. They literally went through hell at the hands of Djokovic in the last few years.

I have no problem in allowing Federer and his fans this moment because since I became a Djokovic fan at the French Open in 2015 it has been an immensely satisfying time as a tennis fan.

Since then, Djokovic completed the personal slam, something neither Federer nor Nadal could achieve. It would be absurd to be bitter over Federer finally winning #18. I am truly happy for him after not only the heartbreak of the 2009 final but the heartbreak of many other losses to both Nadal and Djokovic.

It’s an inspiring story of the power of faith. Despite heartbreak after heartbreak Federer kept believing that it was his destiny to win #18 and eventually, he did so in spectacular fashion. This is truly the fairytale ending that the Fedfans hoped for.

Yes, Federer fans can be annoying but the ones who stayed faithful you can’t accuse of not staying loyal and having faith. So I am glad for them and hopefully they can also have the decency now to accept me as a Djokovic fan.

  • Highlights

Posted in Australian Open, Grand Slams.

22 Comments

  1. Well, I was very wrong about Federer and he won it very unlike himself. I only watched the fifth set and Federer did what Djokovic did in that 2012 AO final. Incredible really. He didn’t have a mental breakdown after wasting all those break points in the fifth set.

    The four Majors and the WTF are the biggest prizes to win in tennis and Federer has won at least five of each of those except for RG of course. That’s impressive. Only Djokovic can match that but he’ll have to win 3 USO and 2 Wimbledons to do so. Federer is definitely the best all-courter there is.

    As the clay court season is going to start in a few months, I hope that Djokovic can pull himself together. Seeing how well Nadal played, it is very possible that he’ll own the clay court season as in the old days. That would be boring. Only Djokovic can match an in-from Nadal on clay.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, you were wrong to write Federer off completely but I don’t think many people thought he would win today, including myself. It is quite interesting that Federer won another HC slam and is now two clear of Djokovic again. I thought Djokovic would become the greatest HC player but now he has some more work to do.

    Like you I really hope this wakes him up. He started waking up last year already but he got a bit unlucky at the AO. Now he has to put everything into winning the FO and completing the double career slam. That would be another huge achievement to add to his personal slam and set him further apart from Federer and Nadal.

    It’s now gonna be very hard to catch Federer but winning the double career slam would be another huge feat Federer couldn’t achieve. I’m looking forward to the rest of the season anyway. Gonna be very interesting.

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    Charlie Reply:

    Lol even I was wrong, as one of the few remaining Federer fans on this blog haha. I’m obviously really happy, and glad you can credit us this one Ruan :-)

    It’s been a long time. I’m sure Novak will be back to top form by the French Open, though Nadal may be a bigger threat there now than in any year since 2014.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    If you are a remaining Fedfan on this blog you stood the test of time and are as true as they get as far as being a Fedfan goes. You guys truly deserve this one!

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    Charlie Reply:

    Yeah I’ve never been one for the excessive hyping of certain matches or players, you only need to look at the number of matches that were supposed to be classics vs the ones that weren’t supposed to be that ended up being. No one would have predicted Murray Zverev, Djokovic Istomin or Nadal Dimitrov, whilst other matches like Federer Berdych just completely failed to materialise as they were hyped. I am glad that you can still appreciate Federer’s game and that it was more his fanbase which can be very over the top at times. The fact is, that unless one of the three contenders from this era (Federer, Djokovic and Nadal) goes on to hold most of the records in all of the three main areas for greatness, it will be impossible to answer the GOAT question definitively. Federer has a clear advantage on longevity and consistency, Djokovic on dominance with his personal slam, and Nadal with his incredible single surface record on clay along with brilliant H2H records against just about everyone. Looking forward to the hard court season!

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  2. My favourite post in the last few years in this blog Ru-an, overjoyed to once again share some happiness with you, thank you :-)

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thanks, Conal! I appreciate that you stayed loyal to my blog. You have to be a pretty special Fedfan. Happy for you!

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  3. Great post, Ru-an!

    Today I am an hard-core Djoker fan, but like you I was a great Fedfan, and like you I felt really happy for him… The “enemy” is the same… Nadull…

    It´s like a great passion that you had in the past… It´s a suprise for me, but I still have deep feelings for that swiss maestro :-)

    I have also to say that I never expected to see that raging bull in a Grand Slam final again… And I am really worried for the upcoming clay season, specially Roland Garros…

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Thank you, Jaques! That’s nice to see someone following the same path as me. But unlike you, I have changed my feelings concerning Federer and Nadal. I don’t see Nadal so much as the enemy anymore. I don’t like his game but I respect him now. And I don’t have deep feelings for Federer. I’m certainly happy for him but I am a Djokovic fan now and Federer reaching #18 is not good for him.

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  4. Federer’s newly found killer backhand and mental fortitude was the reason behind this, things he should have done long before. Nadal couldn’t believe this and looked a bit shell-shocked at the presentation. I think all those final losses to Djokovic battle-hardened him and certainly Ljubicic helped him out with the backhand. This was as great a performance from Federer as in that 2011 French Open semi-final. It is amazing how these three amazing players push each other to new limits.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Totally agree, MJ. The backhand and mental fortitude were the key.

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  5. Excellent post Ru-an. I’m a fed fan (hopefully not one of the annoying ones) because I can appreciate what Novak has done for the sport. I didn’t stop reading your blogs after it changed from ruansfedererblog. If anything I started reading more to get your perspective on things. And which is why I want to know more about what you think about certain other things pertaining to this match and the season ahead viz.
    1. Federer getting a template to play Rafa on this surface from Grigor
    2. What the win means to the GOAT debate and if this could be an impetus for Novak to up his game once more for Fedal seem to have
    3. Where does Rafa go from here. He seems to be back as well and should be a major player at the FO
    4. Where’s the next Gen going to get a breakthrough slam?
    So many possibilities. Can’t wait to read your next posts. Keep at it !

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hey Kaushik, I appreciate your support a lot. You sound like a very smart Federer- and tennis fan. So no, you are not one of the annoying ones. Haha. As usual, I will make one more post to look back at the Australian Open. Hopefully, I will be able to answer all your questions in that post.

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  6. Never been a Federer fan but you would have to be made of stone to not be happy for him. What an incredible achievement to come back from injury at his age and win another slam. If there ever was a debate, this surely settles it, Roger Federer is the GOAT.

    As an Andy Murray fan, I hope he can come back from his disappointment at this slam and go for the French & retain Wimbledon. However with Rafa back at a good level, perhaps the French won’t be realistic.

    Heres hoping for a great year of tennis.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Yes, Frank, this does settle the GOAT debate. At least, for now 😎

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  7. Hi Ru-an,

    I am commenting after quite a long period of time. So happy for your old love! I also lost hope after he was 0-2 down in the fifth. I have never seen him this ultra aggressive against any player like the way he played in the final five games. He almost Rafa-ed Rafa, and Dull was simply baffled, just could not believe what was happening. I am just curious to see whether he would play with the same intensity and attitude against Rafa in the matches to follow in future.

    In another note, I guess Djoker can take a leaf out of Federer’s book by resting himself enough by devising a better scheduling. I am still of the opinion that he is not 100% physically which has been preventing him from going all out in his matches. And he is not getting younger: 29.5 is the threshold age for all professional tennis players (I mean male) and there is no escape for Djoker as well.

    Though it hurts a little bit that you are no longer a Federer fan, but I can stamp it: no one has analysed Fed’s game better than you. You might be thinking about writing something on Federer’s game plan against Dull, the one you had been urging all along, the same mental approach which Fed adopted in this particular match. Now that he has finally won a grand slam match against his eternal nemesis Rafa, I would be really interested to know your views on how it is going to change the dynamics between this two in the near future.

    Till then take care and continue blogging the way you have done all the years. Thanks!

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Hi, Jiten! I’m happy for you and all the Fedfans. It was a long wait with many setbacks but in the end absolutely worth it. If it makes you feel any better I still easily prefer Federer’s tennis over Nadal’s. But Nadal has been more clutch over the years than Federer.

    I don’t think Nole’s problem is physical it was the changed court speed of the AO this year, which is also the reason Federer was able to beat Nadal. But I will soon make another post which I think you might find interesting!

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  8. Ruan, thank you for this post. I never lost faith in Federer. As a tennis fan, I haven’t been this happy about a win, in a long, long, long, long, long time. Notice, 5 longs? Thats 5 years of patience hanging in there with the Maestro. Truth be told, I like all of the big 4 in one way or another. It’s just I’m a Fedfan. All of them have made me smile, and yes, even Nadal. His speech was priceless yesterday too. Made me laugh when he pointed out he had 3 runner up trophies. Not here as much, but I haven’t forgotten you sir. G

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    Ru-an Reply:

    You’re welcome, Gary. Really happy for you after the long wait. I thought Nadal’s speech was good too. He handled the loss very well and like a champion.

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  9. Jiten,
    You are right. Fed surprised Nadal with different tactics. Even during the fourth set, though Fed trailed in the score, he was trying to attack. They, however, were more unforced errors.
    In addition, the age is playing a role in Rafa’s game. He is not able to exert in the fifth sets due to less energy.

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