Roger Federer won his 18th major championship at the Australian Open today in an epic five-set match with Rafael Nadal. This is what true sportsmanship sounds like, from two great sportsmen:
I’m out of words,” Federer said in his on-court interview, addressing Nadal. “I don’t think either one of us believed we’d be in the final here when we were at your academy five, six months ago. Here we stand in the finals.
“I’m happy for you. I would have been happy to lose to you. The comeback was perfect as it was. It’s been a difficult last six months, let’s be honest. I wasn’t sure I was going to be here, but here I am. This was a wonderful run, and I can’t be more happy to win tonight.”
Federer noted that while there are no draws in tennis, he would happily share this titanic title with Nadal.
It was Nadal, 30, perhaps the most resilient and mentally tough tennis player of his or any generation, who blinked in the end.
When it was over, Nadal looked stricken.
“First of all, I can say congrats to Roger and all his team,” Nadal said in his on-court interview. “Just amazing the way he’s playing after such a long time without being on the tour. For sure, you have been working hard to get that one, so very happy for you.
“Today, I think was a great match. Probably Roger deserved it a little bit more than me.”