Google Down the Line!: (UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Rafa tops Fed, earns first Aussie Open title and sixth career major

Sunday, February 1, 2009

(UPDATED) PHOTO OP: Rafa tops Fed, earns first Aussie Open title and sixth career major

Rafael Nadal may have felt the after effects of his Friday night spectacular but you wouldn't know it.

The world's top baller, who only had a day to recover from his 5+ hour semifinal versus Fernando Verdasco and needed treatment in today's third set, left everything he had on the court and defeated Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 in the Aussie Open final for his sixth career major title and first on hard-court. He becomes the first Spanish baller to win the title in Oz and ties Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg on the all-time list with six Grand Slams each.

The 22-year old has now beaten his rival 5 consecutive times, leads their head-to-head 13-6 (6-2 in Grand Slam meet ups) and currently holds three of the four major championships with only the US Open missing from his resume.

In his post-match presser, Rafa was asked about grabbing his sixth Grand Slam:

Well, very special, no, for me. Is a dream win here, one Grand Slam on hard court. I worked very hard the last ‑‑ well, all my life for improve the tennis outside courts, well, outside of clay.

Very happy, no? Very happy for the title. Today was really lot of emotions on court. I was there with the best player I ever saw, like is Roger.

My uncle always told me Rod Laver was the best because he win two times the Grand Slam, the whole Grand Slam, the four in a row, and for like six or seven years he didn't play. So for that reason he can be.

Everything was very special. Sorry was tough moment for Rog today. I know how tough must be there in important situation from him. But, you know, no, he's a great champion. He's the best. And he's, for sure, very important person for our sport, no?

So sorry for him, but at the same time congratulate him for everything.
And what does he think was the key to winning the match in the end?
I think he had more mistakes than me in the fifth. I was more solid than Roger on the fifth. For that reason I won the match, no?

In the game when I had the first break, he has one mistake with the important ‑‑ important mistake with the backhand on the breakpoint. That was very important for me.
Kudos go out to the Mallorcan Matador for showing real grit and determination and, above all, the mental strength to come back a day after the grueling semifinal 5-setter and take the title. I wasn't sure if he would have any legs left to fight the battle against Fed but he proved me wrong.


UPDATE: Thanks to DtL reader Johanne for tipping me off to Rafa's updated blog celebrating today's Aussie Open win...

Hello Everyone!

Where should I begin….!I’VE WON THE AUSTRALIAN OPEN! YES!

When I finally celebrated my last point I felt something I’ve never felt before, it was a more peaceful victory compared to the one in Roland Garros and Wimbledon but at the same time, it was come completed. And I know why it was that way.

I grew up as a clay-courter and my style of game adapted to that: I learned to push my opponents out of the court and that made me wear out my physic with some much running around and long rallies.

But my uncle Tony and I knew that my game had to have more dimensions to it so that I could have the same kind of results on other surfaces. I had to change my game radically, more direct and aggressive. I had to improve my service as well and control my game when going up to the net. Make my shots flatter and my volley more accurate.

We had lots of work ahead of us for sure.

Every year we’ve had improve my game on hard courts and even though I bit Djoko in the final of the Olympic games, this final against Roger Federer, (who has recuperated his form) was going to be a test of fire for me.

But we made it!

All the hard work, the dedication I put into it was well worth it. And that is what sport is really about. A victory tastes amazing only if it is the result of hard work.



UPDATE #2: Here's Rafa being interviewed by ESPN's Chris Fowler after the huge win...

(images via Getty)


  1. HOW HAPPY ARE WE???!?!?!

    I'm still pinching my cheeks.


    That was truly fantastic! Rafa is the most amazing sportsman there is at the moment, that's for sure.

  3. "HOW HAPPY ARE WE???!?!?!"

    Happy! OMG - i think i'm seeing double from only getting 1 hour of sleep after the final.

    i think i caught the out-of-body experience that ReRe had the other day.

    must...drink...more coffee...

  4. I am so extremely proud of him, and so happy, I don't even know what to do with myself right now!!!!!!!!!!!

    The boy has more heart and will than anyone I know. <3

  5. >HOW HAPPY ARE WE???!?!?! <

    We are mighty happy!!!!
    I probably died 1,000,000 deaths at every breakpoint Fed had but it was sooo worth it!
    Rafa is so amazing I still can't stop having this really retarded grin on my face...

    Thanks god for me it started at 9.30 in the morning but I swear I've never been so much awake on a sunday morning!LOL

  6. After 5+ hrs during the semis, he still managed to pull it off! I was scared when he called the trainer, but RAFA is a freakin bull! I AM VERY VERY HAPPY! I'll probably watch the encore presentation! ahahaha....
    this one is going to my Rafa dvd collection!

    ps.... i think he's got the tightest behind on tour! lol.......

  7. Maja "I probably died 1,000,000 deaths at every breakpoint Fed had but it was sooo worth it!
    Rafa is so amazing I still can't stop having this really retarded grin on my face..."

    LMAO! that's soooo true!

  8. You guys!! I don't even know what to say! You've all said it already!!! :)

    Rafa you're the BEST!! I'm so unbelievably happy, it's borderline absurd. What an amazing match!! It's truly just another level of tennis when these 2 guys play each other. Ridiculous. Congrats to Rafa for such a wonderful win. VAMOOOOOOOOOS!!!!!

  9. Rafa already has a blog up!!

    (hope it's cool if I post this, Rich? If not, please delete!)

  10. I'm really really happy :D to be honest, I didn't expect him to win. But he played great and really surprised me. And the match was also at a really high level, the best I've seen in the tournament.
    I really like the pictures but in the last one Rafa looks a bit dead ;)

  11. Historic victory - first Spaniard ever to win the AO.

    Congratulations to Rafa!!!

  12. I'm still in disbelief. It was such a match. Such, such a match, such players, such a winner.

  13. Nice blog Rafa. He is so gracious, saying that Feb has recuperated his form. It just shows that HARD WORK pays off.

  14. Rafa must be v happy as he forgot who he beat in the Olympics final...Gonzo!

    Records that Rog can never beat: At the age of 22 years and seven months, Rafa is the second youngest man in the Open Era to have won six Grand Slam titles – Bjorn Borg at 22 years and one month was the youngest

    Rafa is the third player at the age of 22 and under in the Open Era - together with Jimmy Connors and Pete Sampras - to win three of the four Grand Slam titles

  15. I must say I was a little disappointed by the blog. It felt edited - PR"ed". More like a prepared statement than the candid and compellingly genuine personality that draws some of us (well me anyway) in.

    Outside of that. Rafa has become the one to beat. Fed may catch up to and surpass Sampras, but he may also repeat the dry stretch Sampras went through on his way to 14. Meanwhile Rafa has officially entered that race.

  16. I'm still so psyched. It's like that Post-Wimbledon-feeling. I can't believe he really made it and yet I always knew he would!!!

    Dunno what else to say except I'm sooooo proud of my man!!!

    I've rambled on in the below post's comment section anyway. LOL


  17. Sonja I am totally with you - we know he can do it, but it's like it hasn't begun to sink in yet. AMAZING. Just amazing...

  18. @anon 4:34 Oh God just don't mention any records, please!:) It just messes with their heads and puts additional pressure on them!And then it all goes wacky.

  19. This loss hurts way to much. I really wanted Roger to get this record but he just seems lost ATM and its hard to watch someone who I feel is the greatest ever not playing and winning as he should. IMO Roger at his best should beat Rafa but there is something about Rafa that just stops Roger from playing his best. This being said well done Rafa.


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