What a hard Sunday morning this was! I woke up at 4:30, figured the Australian Open men’s final was just getting underway, slept til 5:30, checked the computer to see that Rafael Nadal had won the first set, and the second was just beginning. 6:30, Roger Federer had won the second set. Back to bed for another bit long – Rafa had won the third. Got up and listened to Australian radio telling me all about the fourth set, which Roger took. And then hated listening to the 5th set – where Roger was the one with the hard time, going down to defeat.
The match stats – Roger won 174 points, Rafa 173. But in tennis it depends on where the points are. It was Roger’s first serve that let him down, and his unforced errors that exceeded Rafa’s by 20 or so.
At the trophy ceremony, the last man to win the Grand Slam (winning all four of the Slams in the same year), Rod Laver, for whom the show stadium is named, presented the trophies. Also present were the four men he defeated to win his second Grand Slam. Roger, who loves history, was expressing his feelings about having Laver make the presentations when he simply broke down sobbing – Rafa and others cried, too, at the incredible match and the two champions.
So Rafa got to talk for a while, with Roger still weeping – Rafa walked over and stood with his arm around his opponent and friend. Roger tried again, and talked for just a few minutes, gracious, kind and generous as always – ending with more tears. A heartbreaking match. I am glad Roger let us share with him his strong feelings about the agony of losing such a glorious adventure.