Australian Open 2020: Roger Federer is the gift that keeps on giving

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
S Chowdhury

He crunched the forehand with an aggression hardly seen in the match up to that point. And his gallant opponent, who had already played the best match of his life, knew he could not reach it.

One of the most dramatic encounters of Australian Open 2020 had finally come to an end. The winner was a certain 38-year-old who, by his own admission, should probably be skiing in Switzerland. But here he was instead, coming back from the brink of death twice in two rounds.

Clearly, Roger Federer is a unique gift to the game. On Tuesday, the 20-time Major winner displayed why he is one of the greatest ever to have picked up the racquet.

Against World No. 100 Tennys Sandgren, the Swiss maestro saved an unbelievable seven match points in the fourth set before finally claiming a heart-stopping five-setter 6-3, 2-6, 2-6, 7-6 (8), 6-3Β .

This of course came close on the heels of another epic win over the impressive John Millman in the fourth round, where the Aussie took the 2018 winner to another deciding tie-break.

Federer is unique for many reasons, and one of them is his unmatched longevity. Despite the few strokes of luck he got against the brave and aggressive Sandgren, the Basel native belied his age in a way that's almost unprecedented in top-level sports.

Federer is unique for displaying unbelievable gumption and mental strength to overcome gutsy opponents that are determined to oust the master when he is not at his best. But above all, Federer is probably the last of the greats who invokes romance effortlessly.

The stylish backhand, the touch play at the net, the slow, measured movement around the court - all of this adds up to the emotional connect that legions of fans feel with the former No. 1.

But the romance that Federer generates transcends his artistry on the court or his numerous achievements. It is an intangible feeling tied up with the image of the master; a sum total of his persona, his class, his public appearances and his game.

On Thursday, the FedEx might grind to a halt against the juggernaut that is Novak Djokovic at the semi-final stage (though you never know with the Swiss maestro). But the greatness of this gift to the sport is that it is not solely dependent on on-court results.

The narrative around Federer is something that fans will hope lasts for a few more years; it is something the game might not see again in years.

Edited by Musab Abid

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