“Playing against Roger Federer is always special”
In a recent interview with Eurosport Tennis, Rafael Nadal fondly recalled the 2009 Australian Open final against Roger Federer. He remarked that playing against the Swiss is always a special occasion and considered their emotional embrace at the presentation ceremony “an unforgettable moment”.
The 2009 Australian Open title marked the Spaniard’s first Grand Slam on hard court, as well as his first title at Melbourne Park. The tournament’s No.1 seed, the Mallorcan beat second seed Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6(3), 3-6, 6-2 in an epic final.
During the presentation ceremony, a visibly upset Federer was in tears as he watched Nadal lift the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup. It led to one of the sport’s most heartwarming moments in recent memory, as the Mallorcan consoled the Swiss to the cheers of the crowd.
In the interview, the 21-time Grand Slam champion considered 2009 a very special year for him due to his first win in Australia.
“2009 was my most special year because it was there that I won the first title [at the Australian Open]. It was a very emotional match because playing against [Roger] Federer is always special,” Nadal said. “What happened during the ceremony was an unforgettable moment.”
The summer of 2009 in Melbourne was exceptionally hot. The daily maximum temperature reached a record 34.7 degrees Celsius, nine degrees higher than normal.
The Spaniard entered the final after a five-set marathon in the semis against compatriot Fernando Verdasco. The match lasted five hours and 14 minutes, leaving the former world No.1 exhausted before the meeting with Federer. For all these reasons, Nadal regards his triumph as a ‘very special victory’.
“It was a complicated year because of the excessive heat and the end of the tournament was difficult. But I also knew that the situation was not ideal. I was devastated from the semi-finals but when I arrived on the short, I felt better”, Nadal mentioned. “It was my first Grand Slam on a hard court and that made it even more special.”
“It was a great two weeks at the Australian Open 2017 and the match between Roger Federer and me did not disappoint” – Rafael Nadal
Rafael Nadal also opened up about meeting Roger Federer in the 2017 Australian Open final. The 35-year-old remarked that it was obvious fans wanted the duo to meet in the final, saying ” two beautiful weeks” before the meeting.
“It was two very good weeks [at the 2017 Australian Open]. As the days passed, the fans wanted a final between Roger and me,” the Spaniard said. “When he played and I played, I noticed the fans’ desire for this game to happen.
Prior to the tournament, both players were recovering from injuries – Nadal from one to his wrist and Federer from one to his knee. Despite the 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 defeat he suffered at the hands of the Swiss, Nadal said he saw the game as a point of resurgence for both players .
Federer also won the Wimbledon championships in 2017, which was his 19th major title. The other two Slams of the year – the French Open and the US Open – were won by the Mallorcan, for his 15th and 16th Grand Slam respectively. Moreover, the 21-time Grand Slam champion also finished the year as world No. 1, the first player over 30 to achieve the feat.
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“We both came off the circuit and the match did not disappoint. Roger played at a very high level and I think it was a resurgence for both of us. He ended up winning but that was the start of a positive year. helped me live one of my best years ever,” said the Spaniard. “I won two Grand Slams and so did he. I also finished the year number one in the world and this start to the year helped me for the future.”