Roger Federer wrote a new chapter in the history books with his five-set triumph over Marin Cilic at the Australian Open on Sunday.
His sixth success at Melbourne Park saw him join Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson at the top of the all-time list of Australian Open titles and he became the first man and just the fourth player to claim 20 or more Grand Slam trophies.
Here are the main takeaways from yet another successful major for the Swiss…
FED EXPRESS HAS ALL THE FUEL HE NEEDS
In 2009, Federer cried as he addressed the crowd on Rod Laver Arena following a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal in the final.
With spectators in the stands giving him a standing ovation, Federer was overcome by emotion and could barely speak. “God, it’s killing me,” the then 27-year-old Federer told his admirers.
It is nine years and seven Grand Slam titles later and Federer still treats this sport with just as much passion and emotion.
He was once again in tears on Rod Laver Arena, this time after capturing a historic 20th Grand Slam trophy on Sunday.
At 36, and with countless records to his name, Federer is somehow not yet content. It’s that passion that continues to drive him to keep going.
Cilic says it best when asked what makes Federer such an extraordinary player: “I would say first the passion to compete, season after season, especially at this high level. Then also being able to challenge himself first physically and then mentally, as well, to be at the top almost every single week.”
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2018
TIME TO FULLY APPRECIATE MARIN CILIC
No matter his ranking, or the shape he’s in, or the results under his belt, Cilic tends to get less attention than he deserves in the early rounds at the majors and flies under the radar until he’s one of the very few players left standing in the draw.
He’s made the quarter-finals or better in eight of his last 14 Slams, including three finals.
For a Grand Slam champion, Cilic is somehow often overlooked. But he’s earned his place in the world’s top-three now and continues to improve every aspect of his game. He has now made two finals in his last three majors and despite his defeat to Federer on Sunday, will have gained even more confidence from a big fortnight in Melbourne.
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 28, 2018
RACE FOR NO. 1 HEATS UP
Nadal retained his spot at the top of the rankings despite his quarter-final exit via retirement against Cilic but Federer is breathing down his neck, trailing him by a mere 155 points. Both Nadal and Federer have a lot of points to defend in the upcoming period and it’s going to be a real tug of war for the No. 1 ranking over the next few months. With Federer brimming with confidence and Nadal sidelined for three weeks nursing a leg problem, you’ve got to think the Swiss will finally reclaim that top spot before 2018 ends.
Caroline Wozniacki‘s father told her he would not care if she worked in a supermarket before she went out and won her first grand slam title to become world number one.
Piotr Wozniacki has been his daughter’s primary coach throughout her whole tennis career and shared the long journey that finally led to a first slam trophy at the age of 27 when she beat Simona Halep at the Australian Open on Saturday.
He said: “Normally I’m very nervous but I could eat before Caroline’s match so that was very good.
“I was talking to Caroline, ‘you won’t change my day, you are my daughter, it doesn’t matter if you’re working in a supermarket or number one in the world, this is the same for me’.
“We waited a long time. It was Caroline’s dream from very young, 12 years old, that she would win grand slam or be number one in the world. Today we see it coming in the same moment.
“We beat number one, Caroline’s number one, and win first grand slam so this dream is now reality. Now I hope Caroline can have the next dream.”
A newer member of her team is fiance David Lee, a former NBA star, who lived through every moment of her dramatic 7-6 (2) 3-6 6-4 victory over Halep.
“It was a very high-quality tennis match and to have her come out on top, those last couple of points just show her fighting spirit,” he said. “It just stinks that one of those two had to lose that match because they both played like champions.
“I was more nervous than when I won a championship. Because there’s nothing I can do. Just sitting there and knowing how hard she’s worked and how much she wants it. She has the ultimate dedication and heart but sometimes that’s not enough and it’s very hard to watch as her fiance.
“I know how great a person she is and how hard she works and it makes her so easy to root for. Of course I’m biased but I wanted her to be successful more than anything in the world.”
One of the first people to tweet congratulations was Wozniacki’s long-time friend Serena Williams, who revealed the moment reduced her to tears.
I got too nervous to watch but woke up to @CaroWozniacki new number one and aussie open champ. So awesome. So happy. Are those tears? Yup they are. 😭 from a year ago to today I’m so proud my friend so proud. Literally can’t even sleep now
— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) January 27, 2018
Piotr Wozniacki believes Williams has had a big influence on his daughter’s career and hopes they can stage a repeat of the 2014 US Open final, one of two slam finals Wozniacki had previously lost.
He also recognised that Williams’ absence following the birth of her daughter opened a door, saying: “This is fantastic timing.
“I respect Serena. Serena is a huge idol for me, also for Caroline. They’re very good friends so I see it as only good for tennis that Serena is looking at coming back. Sometimes they speak about tennis, and I believe 100 per cent it has helped Caroline.
“Caroline has won now so I hope they can play a different way. I hope this year Serena and Caroline can play one more time in a final.”
Wozniacki spoke glowingly of Williams’ impact on her, saying: “Serena’s a huge inspiration and obviously what she’s done in women’s sports and women’s tennis is incredible.
“She’s an amazing athlete but I think the most important thing about Serena is that she’s an amazing person and she really has taught me a lot of things. The way she handles herself, the way she thinks going out on the court, it’s taught me a lot and that’s why it’s very special she was supporting me. I’m sure when she decides to come back she’ll be as good as ever.”
Wozniacki was still planning to play next week’s St Petersburg Open but has not thought beyond as to what this first slam trophy could potentially lead to over the rest of her career.
She said: “I think as athletes we don’t enjoy the moments and I really just want to enjoy the moment. Not only am I a grand slam champion – it still seems crazy to say that – but I’m also back to number one. I couldn’t have scripted it any better and I’m very proud of the way I’ve fought to get here.”
Provided by Press Association Sport
The Swiss defended his crown in Melbourne, and was in tears as he lifted the trophy on Rod Laver Arena.
“The fairy tale continues for us, for me. After the great year I had last year, it’s incredible,” he said fighting back tears.
The 36-year-old continues to defy age and closes in on Rafael Nadal at the top of the world rankings with only 155 points now separating them.
Here’s a look at the numbers behind Federer’s latest history-making feat…
3 – At 36 years and 173 days, Federer is the third player in the Open Era to win four or more Grand Slams after turning 30, joining Rod Laver and Ken Rosewall, who both won four major titles after their 30th birthdays.
3 – Grand Slam titles Federer has captured after turning 35. Rosewall is the only other man to have won major titles after his 35th birthday in the Open Era.
4 – Federer is just the fourth player – man or woman – to win 20 or more major titles.
5 – consecutive Grand Slams now won by either Federer or Rafael Nadal. The longest streak for their duopoly took place when they split 11 straight majors from the 2005 Roland Garros to the 2007 US Open.
6 – Federer has captured his sixth Australian Open title from seven finals reached in Melbourne. He joins Novak Djokovic and Roy Emerson at the top of the all-time list for Australian Open titles won.
6 – Federer’s victory means that the last six majors have been won by players aged 30 or older. He is 36.
7 – Australian Open finals Federer has reached, the most in history.
8 – second-serve aces Federer fired this tournament.
9 – wins and just one loss for Federer against Cilic.
10 – Having won his 20th Grand Slam at the 200th major played in the Open Era, Federer has now won 10 per cent of the Grand Slams in the Open Era.
13 – hours 53 minutes Federer spent on court en route to the 2018 Australian Open title.
20 – Grand Slam titles for Federer from 30 finals reached (has won two thirds of the major finals he’s contested).
30 – five-set wins for Federer throughout his career against 20 losses.
30 – Grand Slam finals reached by Federer, the most in history.
41 – of 51 serve-and-volley points Federer won throughout the tournament.
72 – The 2018 Australian Open was Federer’s 72nd Grand Slam appearance. He has won 28 per cent of the majors he has contested.
82 – Federer won 82 per cent of the points on his first serve throughout the tournament.
94 – match wins for Federer at the Australian Open against 13 losses.
95 – aces Federer struck throughout the tournament.
279 – winners Federer struck through seven matches in Melbourne, against 197 unforced errors.