The tennis world has many tournaments televised around the world: the ATP masters 250, ATP masters 500, ATP masters 1000 but none more popular than the Grand Slams. The four grand slams are The Australian Open, The French Open, Wimbledon and The US Open.
The Australian Open is held over the last fortnight of January in Melbourne Australia. It was first held in 1905, the tournament is chronologically the first of the four Grand Slams. It features men’s and women’s singles; men’s, women’s and mixed doubles; juniors Championship as well as wheelchair legends and exhibition tournaments. Prior to 1988 the playing surface was grass, but since then two types of hard court surfaces have been used, green Rebound Ace up to
2007 and blue Plexicushion since then.
With the finals of the Australian Open just around the corner let’s take a look back at last year’s men’s final. Last years men’s final featured Rafael Nadal and Rodger Federer. The rivalry is said to be one of the greatest rivalries of the open era.
One could ask what was so great about these two legends meeting in another Grand Slam final.
My answer this question, Federer was back playing professional tennis after missing the 2016 Summer Olympics and the remainder of the 2016 season to recover from his knee injury while Rafael Nadal was recovering from wrist injury.
Rodger Federer ranked number 17 Rafael Nadal rank number 9 would have to overcome rust in their game and also face top seeds in the early rounds. Their 2 biggest threats world number two Novak Djokovic and world number one Andy Murray.
But the fates smiled upon them as both the top seeds were eliminated in the early rounds.
Rodger Federer faced fellow countrymen Stanislas Wawrinka in the semi finals where Federer beat Wawrinka in 5 sets to become the oldest player in a Grand Slam final since Ken Roswell in 1974.
Meanwhile Rafa faced Grigor Dimitrov in the second semi final which lasted for 5 hours in which Rafa prevailed in 5 sets.
Federer and Nadal faced off against each other for the first time since the 2009 Australian open final which Nadal won.
Federer and Nadal came at each other with everything they had and the first set remained on serve till the 7th game, where Federer broke Nadal to take a 4-3 lead and eventually winning the set 6-4.
In the second set the unforced errors began to mount for Roger.Nadal taking advantage of this clamied the second set 3-6.
Federer found his mojo in the third set unfurling a series of forehand winners and taking the third set 6-1.
The fourth set saw an aggressive Rafa go at Federer with all the weapons in his arsenal and hit a fore hand winner down the line handing him 3 break points.Capitalising on this he claimed the fourth set 3-6.
The decider saw Rafa taken early lead against the 17 time, Grand Slam champion. Just as it seemed that Nadal would win his 15th Grand Slam Federer fought back and leveled things up at 3 all. Federer continued this momentum to win the fifth set 6-3 after Nadal unsuccessfully challenged a call. This was the first time Federer beat Nadal in a Grand slam final since Wimbledon 2007.
Federer claimed his 5 Australian Open title and 18 Grand slams, his first since wimbledon 2012.
The 2 athlete’s paid their respects to each other during the post match ceremony.Federer said that he didn’t expect to win the finals in his first tournament back and would have gladly shared the trophy with Rafa but unfortunately ther could only be one winner.
This was one of the most exhilarating finals in recent years.
Hopefully this year’s finals provide another classic which will be remembered for the years to come.
The writer is a graduate in engineering and a sports enthusiast