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Finally Federer Has Done It!

Athletes don’t usually are welcomed when they are getting old. Tennis is no different and is no country for old men. It’s definitely not the merciful place for a 35-year-old player, father of four who has been out for six months after injury. But Roger Federer, fought back to become the oldest holder of one of the most prestigious titles after beating his long-term nemesis Rafael Nadal in a sensational match. The 17-time Grand Slam victorious finally broke the Spaniard to take a 5-4 lead and pulled off the match.

It had been 1665 days since he won any major title after 2012’s Wimbledon where he beat English player Andy Murray. It's Roger Federer’s 18th Grand Slam title and he waited for long six years, to bend the time to his will. Now on Sunday, in a vintage Australian Open on Sunday, Federer joined battle with Rafael Nadal, the man he beat 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3. Last time, they met in 2011 in a major final in French open, won by Nadal.

Nadal, behind the match, called for the review and challenged the decision. After a tense 10 seconds of delay to see whether a computer technology would settle on whether Roger Federer was a Grand Slam champ or still playing his game with Nadal, the Hawkeye demonstrated the ball touched the line and Federer was finally able to pull off in the 18th major that looked so hard to pin down for so long. Federer watched the replay on the match screen and jumped for joy when the screen showed his last shot is actually 100th match at the Australian Open finished with his fifth title at Melbourne Park.

In a stroke over 3½ hours, these two played their hearts out and proved what has made there’s such a magnificent vibrant: left-hander versus the right-hander, stylish elegance against fierce struggle, Swiss sophistication against Majorcan enthusiasm.

Before achieving the landmark, Federer had lost six of the earlier eight Grand Slam finals he had played against Nadal, and had only formerly beaten the southpaw Spaniard in 11 of their 34 matches. Both, Federer and Nadal were returning from the injury of left knee and left wrist respectively. Nadal, who like Federer was making a response from a wrist injury, tried his best against a flexible Federer at Rod Laver Arena.

This was no mere soothing nostalgia flash, but a loved revival of energy between two men who have boosted each other to the stature that they might never have reached alone. Little marvel, then, that Federer, somehow managing to seem not at all devious, claimed in the outcome that he would gladly have taken a draw.

Federer thrashed Zverev in the quarter-finals and U.S. Open champion Stan Wawrinka in an all-Swiss semi-final to reach the championship final. It was truly a day of records for Federer, the six years of gap between his Australian titles set a record, too, longer than the five years that both Boris Becker and Andre Agassi had between contest in Melbourne. 

Nazish Islam - a media graduate with an undying love for chai, books, traveling, series shows, sports, hijab, and of course writing.

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