Wed | Oct 17, 2018

Tears of joy! - Federer wins record-equalling sixth Aussie Open

Published:Monday | January 29, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Switzerland's Roger Federer holds his trophy aloft after defeating Croatia's Marin Cilic during the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia yesterday.

MELBOURNE, Australia (AP):

As Roger Federer cried while accepting his 20th Grand Slam title, Rod 'Rocket' Laver took a chance to snap a picture for posterity.

Federer has won more major tennis titles than any man, including a record-equalling six on the court that bears the great Rod Laver's name at Melbourne Park.

This one, following a tension-filled, momentum-swinging 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Marin Cilic in yesterday's Australian Open final, was a keeper.

Laver has been involved in the on-court presentations in the past, witnessing Federer's tears at close range. This time, Laver - the only man to twice win all four Grand Slam titles in one season - held up his mobile phone to get the shot from the stands.

"I didn't see that through my thick tears, that he was taking a picture of me crying," Federer said. He joked in a TV interview that "I couldn't lift my head, I was so embarrassed".

Surely, it's only an embarrassment of riches.

Federer arrived in Melbourne at the start of 2017 after an extended injury layoff and on a Grand Slam title drought that dated back to 2012 at Wimbledon. Having successfully defended his Australian title, Federer has now won three of the last five majors in a stunning career resurgence.

"I'm so happy. It's unbelievable," Federer said, taking deep breaths and choking back tears. "Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true - the fairytale continues for us, for me, after the great year I had last year, it's incredible."

Federer started to tear up towards the end of the trophy ceremony as he thanked his team in the stands: "I love you guys. Thank you."

He then received a standing ovation as tears streamed down his face.

At the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer became the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam title in the Open era after Ken Rosewall, who won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.