Perhaps no individuals have met more often with more on the line than Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Sunday's Australian Open final was the 19th match they've played. All but four have been in tournament finals, seven of them Grand Slams. Nadal has won the last three Slam finals, five overall. Perhaps most impressive is Nadal has won on three surfaces—the clay of Roland Garros, Wimbledon's grass and now the Australian hard courts.
Nadal's 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 victory denied Federer's bid to equal Pete Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam singles titles.
"In the first moment you're disappointed, you're shocked, you're sad, and then all of a sudden it overwhelms you," a sobbing Federer said in Melbourne.
"It's the worst feeling. ... It's rough. God, it's killing me."
But Federer returned to congratulate Nadal within minutes, saying: "You deserved it. You played a fantastic final."
After collecting the trophy from Australian great Rod Laver, who won all four Slams in 1969, Nadal put his arm around Federer.
"Roger, sorry for today," Nadal said. "Remember, you're a great champion, you're one of the best in history. You're going to improve on the 14 of Sampras."
So Nadal and Federer join the list of all-time great sports rivalries.
Source: Chicago Tribune