There were tears, but that was to be expected from Roger Federer at the Australian Open. In the end, the most remarkable part of his 20th Grand Slam singles title was that it came as no surprise. Not even at age 36 in a sport where the spoils have generally been reserved for a much younger crowd. Federer, like Serena Williams, has redefined the limits. After going nearly five years without a major title, he has now won three of the last five in a phase of his career when he insists that he would have been content with just one more. “I’ve won three Slams in 12 months,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself.” On Sunday, under a closed roof in Rod Laver Arena, Federer secured his sixth Australian Open by recovering his mojo in time to hold off Marin Cilic, 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1. Federer is the oldest man to win the Open since one of his role models, Ken Rosewall, in 1972. Though seeded No. 2 behind Rafael Nadal, Federer was the clear favorite coming into this year’s tournament based on his hardcourt results in 2017 and the fragile physical state of his traditional archrivals. Still, he resisted that label. “I don’t think a 36-year-old should be a favorite of a tournament,” Federer said before the Open began. Federer broke down in tears — not for the first time — during the trophy ceremony in Rod Laver Arena as Laver himself was taking pictures with his phone from the front row.
New York Times