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Australian Open 2017: Roger Federer showers praise on Rafael Nadal, says he would have happily shared the trophy

Federer has won hearts with his words for Nadal after the match.

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JANUARY 29:  Rafael Nadal of Spain congratulates Roger Federer of Switzerland on winning their Men's Final match on day 14 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park on January 29, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Clive Brunskill/Getty Images)
Nadal congratulating Federer on his victory

What’s the story?

Earlier today, Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam when he defeated Rafael Nadal in an epic five-setter to take home the Australian Open. Speaking after the match, the Swiss legend heaped praise on his age-old rival.The 35-year-old said, “Tennis is a tough sport and we don't have draws but if I could have shared it today with Rafa I would have taken a draw.

“Keep playing Rafa, please. Tennis needs you. Thank you for everything you do.”

Nadal, on his part, congratulated his compatriot as he said, “Congratulations to Roger and all his team. Amazing how well he is playing after such a long time on the tour. I am very happy for him.”

In case you didn’t know…

Federer and Nadal are both admirers of each other’s games. They have openly spoken about the mutual respect and admiration they share in the past. Two of the greatest players of the sport, they share 32 Grand Slam titles between them.

The heart of the matter

If you were a witness to the epic finale, you would know why Federer’s words are of so much significance. Not for one moment did either player let his guard down. They fought tooth and nail for each and every point, and most of the points were decided through unplayable shots.

A lot was at stake for both players. Federer was playing in his first Grand Slam since last year’s Wimbledon, and it was way back in 2012 that he had won his 17th. Nadal, on the other hand, was on the brink of a second Career Grand Slam – something that only one player – Rod Laver – has managed in the Open era.

A victory for Nadal would have opened the debate on who the greatest ever player is, but Federer shut out all the questions with an epic victory.

What's next?

Whether we will be able to witness another Fedal match in a Grand Slam final is highly doubtful. Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have taken on the mantle now and will likely continue to thwart both Federer and Nadal. But up next, of course, is Nadal’s favourite Grand Slam, the French Open, so the possibility of another throwback run is still present.

For all we know, Nadal could well lift his 15th Slam trophy at Roland Garros in a few months’ time.

Sportskeeda’s take

Undoubtedly, Federer is the greatest player of all time, but the way he acknowledged Nadal’s efforts in the match makes him a true legend. If any tennis match deserved a draw, this was that match. But as is the cruelty (or should I say novelty?) of sports, there could only be one winner. 

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