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They first met 13 years ago. They have played 34 times. Rafa leads
23-11. COMMENTATOR: Rafa rules in
Melbourne. They have come face to face in eight Grand Slam finals.
Rafa leads 6-2. Federer's magnificent run ends. Nadal is the
top man. Between them, they have five Australian Open crowns. Rafa
one Roger four. Together, they have 31 Grand Slam titles. Rafa 14, Roger
17. Not even Rafa can stop Roger's reign. They are two of only eight
men who have achieved the career Grand Slam. In a sport defined by
rivalries, we have had the great Australians of the 60s. Bjorn Borg,
Jimmy Connors, John McEnroe in the 70s and 80s. Sampras and Agassi in
the 90s. But Federer Nadal is perhaps the daddy of them all. They
make the game look so easy. So bad and down the hatches. It is Roger
four versus Rafa again. Are you ready?
That is how the numbers stack up. But this match wasn't about titles
and records. This, for tennis, was a celebration. It was the Grand Slam
final that everybody wanted but never believed they would see again.
Here were two great champions fighting for their legacies in what
was probably their most important final ever. There was not a spare
seat in the Rod Laver Arena as the two players made their way to court.
And first, as the lower ranked player, Federer was introduced.
And then another huge cheer, for Rafa.
What Roger and Rafa have proved here is that greatness and years. It was
history in the making for both players. Can Federer extend his lead
in Grand Slam titles to 18 or can Nadal narrow the gap to just two? We
join the match in the opening set, three games all, Nadal to serve. The
commentators are John Lloyd and Andrew Castle.
COMMENTATOR: Yes, the matte black racket of Roger Federer. Bigger
racket head than it used to be. Timing the ball better since he
Oh! Here is an opportunity, 0-15. New racket in hand and 98 square
inches, this racket. He just has the feel on the backhand side. He was
struggling with the timing for a few months or so and decided to change.
He is somebody that does like to play quickly. Nadal the absolute
opposite. No, not this time. Nadal's racket
much lighter and a smaller grip. Very powerful frame, polyester
strings, the ball shooting off the racket face.
The 2014 French Open, that was Nadal, in this great rivalry.
Oh! What a point, that is ridiculous! He looked in trouble for
so much of that rally. He looked like he was playing catch up but
then when he got the chance, he just exploded. Took the top-spin volley.
Brilliant shot. That is a way! First blood to Roger
Federer, in the last game with these tennis balls. Rafa is going to have
a look at that. The last time Federer beat Nadal in a slam was
2007 at Wimbledon. He has never beaten him in the final of a slam
outside of The Championships in NSW 19. -- in SW19. Welcome he has taken
a step towards that victory, he has the break in the opening set.
Roger Federer, one of the sports stories of the year so far to see
both of these players... Look at their seedings, 17 and nine. These
guys haven't played, it's been six months since Roger Federer was out
here. Nadal curtailed his last season with a bad wrist. We thought
that was it, he's had so many physical problems. Knee surgery for
Roger Federer, six months of and now they are in the final of the first
Grand Slam of the year! No two players have contested more
Grand Slam finals than these two. What a shot.
Ten winners to one. He is taking the ball on. Big-time.
What a game. You break to go for- three up, step up to the line
thinking, don't mess it up... That was clinical. 27 minutes. And
Federer has come out here with the intensity of old.
STUDIO And two games later, Roger went on
to serve out the set in style. Federer in fact only dropping one
point on his first serve in that opener. So Roger takes the first set
six games to four. Now we move onto the second set and we rejoin it with
Nadal leading 1-0. well, the decibel level has gone up
from Nadal. The clenched fist, is a chance at 0-30. Moving fine, after
his brutal semifinal, over five hours begins Grigor Dimitrov. Not a
lot of time for recovery but a couple of sleeps.
Is anything into the Nadal forehand. You offer him a target and he will
generally hit it. Should have made him play the ball, he will be
thinking. Still, 15-30, he would have taken that at the start of the
game. That is truly good fortune. 15-30, a
dead net cord. Well, we've seen some of those net cords that have
actually hit the net and gone over the baseline, so that one was pretty
fortunate. But again! He picked the right spot, Nadal, on the Federer
approach. 50-50. I don't really understand why Federer is going in
on the left-hand side on the approach, the left-hander loves to
put it down the line. So, here we go.
Break point, a first. Just about three quarters of an hour played.
Went in the forehand again. He fights it off.
He as got a good backhand volley. Nadal very good with that one. He
steered it a bit and gave Federer another shot at it. Almost had it.
APPLAUSE And Nadal attacking the Federer
backhand, lining it up with the top-spin, and it pays off. Over
three quarters of an hour but the breakthrough is his at the beginning
of the second set. And Federer is going to have to dig deep. One of
the great surprises to Federer himself has been his physical energy
levels, he has been fine. He's been out for six months! It's much
different playing to practising in terms of what you have to give, but
for Federer, the cadres are still good. Even after the match with
Berdych, he was very clean and clinical and quick, but the match
against Nishikori, he said he came back well after that. But this is a
different order of test because of the emotions.
It's the purity of the strike off the Federer racket today which has
impressed so much. Keeping his weight low and going through the
ball, the timing of it, it is like a forward defensive from Viv Richards
rating to the boundary. It's the sound of the racket that is so
impressive. Nadal making more errors than he would like. Break point.
Two errors on the forehand side. The feet perhaps not working quite like
they were, with Nadal wearing Federer down. We certainly didn't
see those forehands in the set. His forehand was amazing. Maybe just
trying to force the action. There is only so long you can keep doing
that. One of the features of this
Australian Open has been the speed of the court. And the tennis balls
as well. It's been quicker than in previous years. The balls seem to
get less fluffy and move quicker through the air and off the surface.
Federer would like that. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
Fantastic. What a volley that was. Against somebody normal, that
passing shot probably would have been good enough, but what happened
from Federer! The overhead a mere formality. It was the volley,
unreal. He's probably never getting to that volley, let alone forcing it
back that deep and forcing Nadal to put up the forehand lob. Brilliant
point. LINE JUDGE: Out! Taxing rally for
Federer. Just a little exhalation of air, he just turned away before he
breathed out there. That is hard, physically. I just wonder, with 53
minutes played, I know it's early doors, but how much is left in that
tank? He'll be fine. LINE JUDGE: Out!
UMPIRE: Advantage Nadal. One of the happiest sites in tennis,
when you look down and you see a ball landing over your own baseline.
Thank you! That is a way that Federer had his
chances to get back level pegging, there, but Nadal has consolidated
the break. Important game, 3-0 Nadal.
STUDIO What a tussle, Nadal got ahead and
then held on and here he is with a set point at 5-3. That arrow from
Federer and now they are tied at one set all. We hope for a classic and
this was building nicely. Let's see how set number three would unfold.
What a lovely way to start the set. Exactly!
This fearsome forehand. For five years ago it was the best shot in
tennis. He lost a little bit of his potency, but he seems to have got it
back now. Well, that was a surprise! He
actually got the volley that he was looking for. It was perhaps dipping,
was it any the height of the net? It was one that he will feel he should
have made. A second serve? Having been 40-0 up, I'm worrying about his
energy levels and the concentration, the whole thing, after six months
out of the game. Keep an eye on it. 40-0 back to deuce. Yeah, it's a
tank that might be saying no, get back to the petrol station. He was
taking on board some nutrients about 15 minutes ago, ten minutes ago.
Concentration... If he does flag, the crowd will be
there to elevate him on their shoulders, I promise you. Something
is not right now. The trouble is, you know that it's
Nadal down the other end and he is moving to his forehand side and you
think, better get there quick. Exactly. He just sort of took his
eye off it a bit. Oh no! Two volley errors, two
forehand errors. He had 40-0 in the game and he has also saved two break
points. His first serve right now is what is helping him to hang in.
APPLAUSE He can't keep doing that every time
he gets break point down, can he? That was like, just give me one
chance to get my racket on the ball... You can feel the ticks and
the electricity running through Nadal. This is a big moment in this
match. Well, it was a great ball. People
thought it might be going out. The crowd on that backhand. But it's
amazing, when you are down courtside and you watch these two players play
and you see that top-spin, you do think the ball is going out and the
last-minute the ball just drops. It's amazing, how many times you
think it's going to go way out. That was something Steve McQueen
would have been happy with, The Great Escape. He had 40-0 but also
break points against. Federer holds, just.
Riding the wave from the previous game when he managed to hold from
multiple break points down, taking the ball early, feeling the
adrenaline now. Any tips of energy seem to have disappeared from
Federer. -- get. Magnificent backhand. Nadal
continues to throw everything at him. Once again, the backhand, he is
on top of it. Taking it as early as he can. That one was relatively
simple for a man of his calibre. Coach to Roger Federer, he has
clearly had a big impact here. He has worked with so many fine coaches
in the past. They would certainly have said, do
not allow the ball to play you, either on the wide serve like that
or the hooked forehand. Don't let it rise up, take you off the playing
surface. I don't believe that rally! That is
a shot you cannot coach. There were about five of them in there, John.
Exactly. The last one. Nadal smacked it so hard indeed. Unbelievable, to
fit a clean winner from that position. Timing has to be so
precise -- to hit. Suddenly Federer with a chance now. Break point.
Federer just moved a little to his left. He was in the tramlines.
Taking away Nadal's wide serve on the second. Nadal serves into the
body. Federer rounds it down the centre of a court. What a
fascinating match these two play. Federer seemingly out of gas in the
previous games. The serve saved him in Game one of
the set. Break points on the left side.
Rafa Nadal that far back, any opponent will look at that and
think, I will go ahead and volley. Too much court to cover from back
there on the next shot. What a passage of play this has
been. Break points down, big serves out wide to Nadal's forehand and now
takes over this game. Fantastic, isn't it? The dog has -- Nadal is
not going anywhere. His level will not change too much. But Federer has
had a surge of power and energy to take the lead.
SUE BARKER: Federer stayed in charge. He only had to save one
break point. Here he is. Now the momentum very much with
Federer. Roger just one set away from his 18th Grand Slam final. Two
hours of play just over, we entered the fourth set and we rejoin it with
Nadal leading 2-1. Nadal defending the backhand side.
That half of the court was entirely open. Disappointing start for
Federer. Something for Nadal to hook into here.
And now 0-30. How quickly it happens, the start of the game is so
big, so easy to get a little bit complacent. It is about the fifth
time he has completely mis-hit forehand side.
Fantastic recovery from Federer. The forehand from Nadal took over. He
did well to hook it back. The foot speed of Nadal to get around
beforehand. Two options, he can go the off forehand or down the line,
pick the right shot. Big trouble now.
And the tone was set on the very first point of that game, the
forehand from Federer. After that, Nadal does not need a written
invitation. Unable to find the magic to dig this service game out. I
wonder if we are going five here. That would be something the sports
world would enjoy. SUE BARKER: Nadal break serve and in
the next game he holds 4-1 with possibly the point of the
Championship. What a shock! Or most a squash shot
from Rafa. Standing ovation from the crowd for both players after that
and Rafa was right back in the match because he went on to take the
fourth set 6-3. The two great champions, fitting finale at the
Australian Open. It is quite fitting we go down out of the fifth and
final set that would decide the Championship.
ANDREW CASTLE: Three unforced errors from Nadal. Federer is going to need
to find inspiration. Brilliant. Just refused to miss,
Nadal. They played five five set matches. It is 3-2 to Nadal. He lost
the last couple, Australian Open final here, and the great one at
Wimbledon in 2008. It has been ten years since Federer
beat Nadal in five sets. Ten years! Both players, there has to be
fatigued, just because of the circumstances in getting to the
finals. This is one set for the Australian Open, they will push
through the pain barrier. Whatever it takes. They are both warriors.
Wow, what a forehand. Nadal is about to strike an important blow, 15-40,
two break points. Less time out for Rafa Nadal with
the wrist injury. But time-out nevertheless.
Glorious. He was looking at the forehand reverse to Nadal's forehand
and he said, no, I will keep it there. Nadal tried everything to get
Federer off-balance. He could not get enough on any of the shots to
put Federer to defend. Once he gets the chance to take over, with that
pace, the forehand, it is the weapon, it used to be just winners
whenever he hit it. While it seemed to lack pace for a couple of years,
now it is back to its best. No, it is a way! Take it easy, not
home yet. But a break of serve. Right at the start of the fifth and
deciding set. Nadal with his nose in front. When Federer was taking his
time-out, Nadal was pretty much doing his laundry, jumping up and
down, taking on carbohydrate gels and hydrating with various different
fluids. Dad, coach, girlfriend. Agent. And he has had a big job to
do over the preceding 43 hours before this match after a monster
five set semifinal with regard it. He is the masseuse. -- with Grigor
Dimitrov. He has recovered magnificently from that contest.
Just count that errors from Nadal. Any sort of mistake, I think he is
going to make very few. It is up to Federer. What can he
find? He cannot look at the unforced error
account in isolation. You have to look at the winners. It is the ratio
that is crucial. Just a couple of those forehands
from Nadal landing a bit short. He could not put it where the first
time. The second time, that one lands a bit short. Getting it round
the outside of the balls. He flicks the ball away crosscourt.
He wouldn't still be thinking about that second point and the forehand
halfway up the net, would he? 15-0. That was the crucial point in this
game, an unusual mistake. Break point now, second one.
Oh, you're kidding me! This is a tough ball to handle. One of those
drills. The coaches, they have a basket of balls and they feed them
into that area and Nadal has to run around it and whipped the forehands.
He has done it thousands of times. Almost in his sleep.
Oh, what a time for that! People say that the net cords, they always even
out. No, doesn't matter how many there are, it is when they occur,
crucial points. That was a big time for it to happen.
How is that...? Federer hit the most brilliant return. He is thinking,
OK, now I am going to be in a good position. And that is what happened
to him! Nadal right away just hit the flick shot and put Federer right
back under pressure. At break point down.
That forehand on the line. First serve. Forehand. What a combination.
He is setting up such an attack. Not opening the door.
And that is away. Three break points saved in the second game of the
fifth set after break. Really important holds. 2-0.
SUE BARKER: Federer throwing everything at Nadal. Federer had
another break point but still could not find a way to break Rafa's
serve. Let us rejoin it with Rafa serving at 3-2.
ANDREW CASTLE: That is a stunning rally from Federer to start off this
service came from Nadal. 18 shots of pure quality, three or four times in
that rally he was in trouble. The extra leg strength pushing himself
to keep the ball deep. He took charge and exploded with a backhand
again. He has hit that shot so well today.
Fantastic length from Nadal in response.
Phenomenal serve. Federated well to get the ball back in play. --
Federer. He was so far off the court. Stabilised oneself with the
right foot. He had to cover his backhand side. Nadal finding his
target. No chance of him missing that one.
Unusual, isn't it? The tension. Electing not to attack the Federer
backhand. Did it dip in with the enormous paean on it, the top-spin?
-- rpm. It is break point. Third game in a row. Nadal's serve.
CHEERING That is scintillating. At 15-30, the
wide serve, followed by the winning forehand. Break point down, body
forehand serve, whack, goes away, this guy does not make mistakes on
big points very often. Just marginally, Federer might have
had the rub of the green when it comes to net cords so far.
Nadal made a bit of room on the forehand side, left the crosscourt
open, but you have got to hit it and it was a hammer blow. Another break
point. And it is away this time Federer
does breakthrough. APPLAUSE
Standing ovation. In the middle of a set.
Doesn't have to come right out of the
He would love that. Another standing ovation, two straight games, the
longest set of the match. I want a lot more of this, don't you?
This is about the 14th round of a 15 round championship boxing match!
They have been slugging each other for well over three hours now.
Federer and Nadal. You couldn't possibly have picked this final
after what they have both been through. 4-3 in the fifth set. Nadal
has lost the last two Games. He was a break up.
GP ball from Federer. He meant that. Well, that's just genius. No one
else would have the imagination do hit that shot at this stage in the
match. And also have the ability to do it!
APPLAUSE It looks like it is 1-1 in the first
set. Three hours and 24 minutes played.
Oh! Pressure, tension. Well, if it's getting to Nadal, you know it's
there. He can't believe it. Five points from the title.
Rafa! UMPIRE: Thank you.
CHUCKLES Look at the attitude!
Oh! Well, he's gone for that shot in this match often, to conserve taking
it early, but that one had a bit extra on it.
Nadal double faulted early on in this game. That was a good second
serve, well directed. Three straight now, back to deuce.
Oh! CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
That's one of the best points ever! Longest rally by miles and the Best
by miles. That's ridiculous. Is that what you've got to do? No way.
For the break point of the game coming up. -- the fourth break
point. Oh! This is just awesome. You just
knew that if this went to five sets they would play their best stuff in
the fifth! That's just the way they are, two champions.
The first four sets were just a measly starter, weren't they... This
is the main course all right! Doesn't say much for his bad leg!
He's just lying on adrenaline at the moment. -- so much for his bad leg!
Look at the eyes. Fifth break point of this game.
CHEERING And this time the breakthrough
comes! And the umpire says new tennis balls. That is a big aid to
Federer as he serves. For an 18th Grand Slam title. He hasn't won one
of these, the eight's biggest prizes, since Wimbledon 2012, that
memorable final with Murray. This was never going to happen, it
couldn't happen. You can't take this much time off and do this. But
nobody told him that. Just a -- vicious forehand is there
from Nadal. The great Spaniard will not go away.
The pace and spin... 0-30. That's just so good! No hesitation
coming into the net. 30-15. He has to hit an ace just to
win a point in this game so far. At different points Rafa has been quite
devastating. Oh! I mean, that was a great
forehand from Nadal. He kept it deep. How did Federer find that
angle and that power from that position on the court? That was a
good forehand by Rafa. Leg power, rotation of the hips.
LINE JUDGE: Out! UMPIRE: Mr Federer is challenging
the call on the service line. The ball was called out. Good Lord.
Really? Nadal is not sure. He gets a good serve!
Thank goodness for the electronic line calling.
UMPIRE: Mr Federer is challenging the call on the service line. Well,
if this is in committed that call affect Nadal's return? It is out,
second serve. That one, by his standards, was a
fairly comfortable forehand. The challenge was a strange one. After
he missed that first serve, it was way out. He's nervous. Even the
great ones, even the greatest get nervous.
Not really nervous! Oh! Once again... Or he's nervous for about
one second. Readjust and plays the ace. It is is 100th match at the
Australian Open. Oh! Another one! He has rolled this
forehand and Rafa is not sure, again. It is the match if it goes
past and, if it's in. And that is it, it's going to be over! That is
it! Federer wins the Australian Open and it is one of the sports stories
of all time. It just couldn't happen! I'm not
surprised by this. It is all about Roger Federer at
this point but more, it is about both of them and what they have
contributed to the game and to the sport. There has to be more from
both of these players. The next time the tennis world gathers will Beer
the French Open. -- will be at the French Open. Did he really believed
he was going to come back and do this, even himself? I'm not so sure
he did. Just an outstanding sportsman. Grand Slam number 18. He
further extends his lead in the record books. At more than that,
it's just about the heart and soul. That face, these achievements, that
is why you practice, why you do what you do. Fantastic tennis match from
Federer and Nadal, as we were hoping for.
Ladies and gentlemen, our runner-up, Australian Open 2017, Rafael Nadal!
How cruel the sport can be. You throw everything at your opponent,
so close, 3-1 up in the fifth and final set. That will certainly play
on his mind in the days to come. He received his runner-up trophy from
the man this stadium is named after, Rod Laver. He is a class act and
always so sporting in defeat. Well, good evening everybody. First
of all I will just say can grudge relations to Roger and all his team.
Just amazing, the way that he is playing after such a long time
without being on the tour. It's just very difficult to make that happen.
For sure, you have been working a lot to make that happen, so I feel
very happy for you. I'm just going to keep trying now. I feel that I am
back and at a very high level, so I want to keep fighting the whole
season. Do have a great season and for sure to come back here for so
many years. To have this trophy with me. It is the third time that I have
this. It is beautiful, but... But that trophy is still much better!
Thank you very much everybody. CHEERING AND APPLAUSE
And now the holder of 18 Grand Slam singles titles and the 2017 champion
of the Australian Open, Roger Federer.
I'm out of words and Rafa said so many great things, but of course I
would like to also congratulate Rafa on an amazing comeback. I don't
think either one of us thought we were going to be in the finals of
Australia when we sought each other at the Academy four or five months
ago. And here we stand in the finals. I'm happy for you and I'm
happy to -- I would have been happy to lose too, to be honest. The
comeback was perfect as it was. Tennis is a tough sport, there's no
draws, but if there was going to be one, I would have been very happy to
except one tonight and share it with Rafa, really. I know everybody says
they work very hard, I did the same, I really tried not to shout about it
because we have got some serious legends and toughest guys in the
game like Rafa here tonight. But I would just like to thank my team
because it has been a different last six months, let's the honest. I
wasn't sure if I was going to make it here, but here I am and we've
made it, so I would just like to thank you guys. Thank you. Thank you
for being here tonight, with your presence, it means so much more.
Thanks again for everything, to everybody. And of course I hope to
see you next year. If not, this was a wonderful run here and I couldn't
be more happy tonight. Thank you very much, guys. Well, the speeches
were as impressive as the tennis, but what an absolute classic. We
talked about this being the dream final, and will it live up to the
billing? It more than lived up to the billing, it was one of their
classic encounters. It's a shame for Rafa, Andrew, isn't it? He threw
everything at Roger. I think Rafa was absolutely amazed to lose that.
You lost the last five games playing quite well! Just one or two points
here and there he might have done something slightly differently. You
could see him at the prizegiving ceremony going through it in his
brain, added he lose this match? How did he lose those five games? The
answer is it was just inspiration from this magnificent sportsman.
Trying to put this into some sort of perspective is from the only thing I
can think of, Jack Nicklaus at the 1986 Masters, 24 years or so after
he won his first major championship, shooting a 30 on the back nine to
win the Masters at the age of 46. I consider this to be right up there
with one of those great sports achievements. He is 35, hasn't
played for six months, fitness was obviously a question. He had surgery
on the knee and he comes back and it's all very well hitting his shots
but hitting them when you need them and having the clarity of thought
without any self-doubt, it was very impressive. It's one of the sports
stories of the year, is it even February yet? Not even of the year,
maybe ever! Nobody expected him to come back and it's great for the
game, isn't it? I've been reading through a lot of the newspapers
worldwide and everyone was stopping to watch this for what they mean to
the sport. Everyone was wanting this final and they didn't to happen. You
look at the beginning of the year and you are thinking Djokovic and
Murray, they are above everyone else. Now you've got Nadal and
Federer back in the mix! You've got Nadal coming up to the French Open,
he's favourite, and why not Federer for Wimbledon now on the grass? He
could take four months off and go in without another tournament! He was
pretty successful here. You look at the Williams sisters and Rafa,
planning their schedule, this could be a -- a game changer for the
sport. He is now on 18, Serena is on 23 and one behind Margaret Court. It
illustrates the era we are watching. Andy Murray is world one right now
and he's got to fight these sort of guys off. It's captivating. And then
and Kyle doing very well and Johanna Konta as well. But just rewind that
last 20 minutes and that is how good you have to be. We were talking
about Djokovic catching Federer, or Rafa catching Federer on 18 titles.
It's going to be tough. He was absolutely shattered. For anyone to
catch Roger Federer now, I don't think so. You look at the fitness
from Roger his third five set match during this tournament. Fitness
wise, he's right back there, isn't he? It tells you a lot about
managing your schedule. Take six months off. There's always the
argument about fitness versus rashness. He came back because he
wanted to play. The motivation is still to hit the ball. The money
ceased to be an issue when he won his first slam 15 years ago beating
Mark Philippoussis at Wimbledon. It's about the joy of hitting the
ball and feeling fresh for the challenge each time, in direct
contrast to Andy at the moment who has been playing so much. Going to
be a fascinating year, isn't it? Andy and John, thank you very much.
That's it for the day that we have more tennis coming up for you next
week. We have Canada against Great Britain and it is live coverage from
Ottawa and we will be there on Friday from 8pm on the red button.
That is it, what a final we have had in Melbourne. Shame there has to be
one winner only. That was Roger. He is a legend and his legend grows and
grows. COMMENTATOR: Federer wins the
Australian Open! It is one of the sports stories of all