The Australian Open enjoyed a spectacular
finale, with Cypriot wonderboy Marcus Baghdatis taking the final right up to
No.1 seed and overwhelming favourite Roger Federer.
The world No.1 broke down and cried during
his victory speech, showing the world how much a Grand Slam title still means,
even after seven wins from seven finals. Federer is an engaging figurehead for
the sport, with his on-court creativity and on-sleeve emotions. He’s a very
With several chances early in the second
set to go a set and two breaks up, the Bag Man was tantalisingly close to
pushing the match to the very edges of Federer’s reach but the Swiss
24-year-old is already regarded as one of the greats for a reason and he ground
his way back into contention, finally blitzing the Bag Man 6-0, 6-2 in the
third and fourth sets, exactly how he finished against Kiefer in the semis.
The biggest news of the night was Federer’s
reaction to his victory. Having started the match so tentatively, appearing
flat and unsure, he was the same during his speech, taking lots of deep breaths
and then surprising everybody by bursting into tears. He hugged Rod Laver and
wept again once he left the microphone.
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It was the kind of emotional release that
made you wonder what was going on behind the scenes that nobody knew about –
much like the time at a previous Australian Open when Sampras broke down
mid-match after carrying within him the news that his coach had been diagnosed
However Federer said later he was just
overcome by the moment. “I was so happy,” he told Seven’s
Matthew White. ”Then I had to go up on stage and speak. This is really too
much for me sometimes. It’s just a dream come true every time I win a Grand
Slam. I can’t block it out – I’m also just human.”
Federer was also wrung out by the long wait
to play the final.
”The whole fact of being such a huge favourite. And if
I lose, a huge upset since I don’t know when,” Federer said. ”The whole thing
was building up and waiting all day for the night session – that is
nerve-racking on top of it. It was really tough for me mentally.”