The day Federer broke down in tears after falling to Nadal in Australian Open final: ‘It’s killing me’
Forty official matches have been played Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal throughout nearly two decades of dominance in elite tennis, a lifetime of battles that have left unforgettable anecdotes between two men who have a special place in the history of tennis. Both shared great afternoons of glory and pain, like the one the Swiss experienced when he fell to the Spaniard in the final of the 2009 Australian Open.
Just months after the “match of the century” at Wimbledon, Federer and Nadal met in the final of the first Grand Slam of the year, a key match at the Rod Laver in which the two players have arrived at a very special moment in their rivalry.
Nadal arrived at the first ‘Fedal’ (as this mythical confrontation is called in tennis jargon) of the year 2009 after signing full of victories against his great rival the previous season. And it is that, of the four occasions in which they met – all finals – the victory fell on the side of the Spaniards: the Monte Carlo Masters 1000that of Hamburg, Roland Garrosand the famous end of Wimbledon.
That of Basel could not stop the Manacorí, but he had placed himself in another final on his favorite surface, and had won with force (giving up only two sets) to the toughest rivals in the draw: Andreas Seppi, Yevgueni Koroliov, Marat Safin, Tomas Berdych, Juan Martín del Potro and Andy Roddick – Djokovic’s executioner in the quarter-finals – in the semi-finals.
On the other side of the table, Nadal reached the final, yes, after a difficult semi-final against Fernando Verdasco that lasted until the deciding fifth set. Federer arrived much more rested in what would be his fifth straight encounter in a title match, it was his golden opportunity to stop Rafa once and for all.
The Rod Laver, Melbourne Park’s main track, experienced -as expected- a battle that lasted until the fifth set: 4 hours and 23 minutes of tennis that ended with Nadal on the groundas it is customary to celebrate triumphs.
Head down and defeated, Federer came to the net clap, the Swiss couldn’t believe as he once again lifted the silver platter to the sky of the finalist and not of the title of champion. And in his turn of statements, interrupted by the constant ovations of the audience, he burst into tears.
Roger Federer breaks down in tears during the 2009 Australian Open trophy ceremony after losing in straight sets to Rafael Nadal pic.twitter.com/Lsts9Gfu6G
— Tennis Historian (@HistorianTennis) March 2, 2021
“Maybe I should try later, I don’t know, my God… It kills me“, he came to pronounce before interrupting his speech. Afterwards, the master of ceremonies called Rafa, who lifted the gleaming trophy and, without going through the microphone, He melted into an emotional embrace with his rival.
Eventually, Federer pulled himself together to praise the Spaniard, just like Nadal did in turn. This victory went to Rafa, but began to forge a friendship that would transcend rivalrywhich also continued to grow a few months later, when Federer he snatched the Madrid title from Nadal in the final.
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