With the Australian Open around the corner, it is going to be very strange to not see a certain Roger Federer compete.
Five of the best Federer moments at the Australian Open
Organizers have tried to tempt Federer, who retired towards the end of 2022, back onto the court, and the Swiss maestro was a global icon during his playing days. He lit up the Australian Open during his countless visits Down Under, and he wound up as a six-time champion. Federer’s combativity on court and never-say-die attitude means his losses were just as painful to digest as his triumphs was incredible to witness. While time has moved on since Federer hung up his racket, it’s never too late to take a trip down memory lane. We have revisited five of the best Federer moments at the Australian Open for you to mull over.
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First triumph Down Under (2004)
While Wimbledon in 2003 was a coming of age for Federer as it marked his first Grand Slam success, his visit to Melbourne six months later in 2004 was very sweet indeed. Coming up against the temperamental Marat Safin, this would have been a tester for anyone. But Federer made light work of the Russian, prevailing in three sets, and it saw him ascend to number one in the world rankings, a position he held onto for 237 consecutive weeks.
Sees off Marcos Baghdatis for second title (2006)
The first decade of the 2000s was seen as the time when Federer was largely viewed as the undisputed king of men’s tennis and he was an immovable object. And after coming up short in the semi-final 12 months ago, Federer was back in another Australian Open Final. This time standing in his way was Marcos Baghdatis. And Baghdatis struck the first blow when he took the opening set 7-5. But unfazed, Federer climbed off the canvas and reeled off the next three sets to clinch the title – his second in Australia and his seventh Slam overall.
Sweet 16 (2010)
Having already overtaken Pete Sampras to become the most decorated Slam champion in men’s tennis at Wimbledon, Federer was back in the winner’s circle in Australia in 2010. Facing him was Andy Murray, but the Brit had an off day, and he succumbed in three miserable sets. But Federer was a worthy winner, and the victory denoted his 16th Major and it was another incredible moment in Federer’s extraordinary career.
Ends long wait for Slam (2017)
It seems funny to think that Federer would have to wait such a long time between his 17th and 18th Majors. Injuries had an impact on Federer towards the latter end of his career, and he was forced to sit out the 2021 and 2022 editions of the Australian Open due to a combination of knee and back problems. But in 2017, Federer found himself up against Spaniard Rafael Nadal, who hasn’t always found success easy to come by in Melbourne.
And in an epic, Federer saw off Nadal in five sets, and the evocative memory of that match was when Federer bounced in the air in delight after match point. It had been a long road to recovery for Federer, but it was well worth it!
Another Slam triumph over Marin Cilic (2018)
Federer has become accustomed to meeting certain opponents in Grand Slam Finals, and in Australia, he faced the tall and awkward Marin Cilic. Once again, Federer was taken the distance in an Australian Open Final, but he held his nerve at the key moments to come through in five gripping sets.
Federer would then make his way to the podium for the sixth time as the Australian Open singles champion. In doing so, he became the first male player to reach 20 Grand Slam titles — a milestone that would later be broken by Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Nevertheless, this was a Slam win that saw an outpouring of emotion and the fans reciprocated by giving him a huge applause which illustrated the special connection Federer had with them.