A backhand cross court winner landed just on the line as Marin Cilic challenged the call of referee and as soon as ‘in’ was displayed on the giant screen, Roger Federer’s eyes looked redder than ever. Yes it was filled with tears. It was not new for those who follow the Swiss master. He had broken down when he had won his 8th Wimbledon title in July last year. It displayed just one thing—Hunger, the hunger to win and win more. It displayed how much each trophy means for the most Grand Slams winner in men’s tennis history.
After missing out the second half of the 2016 due to injury, there were lot of speculations that the then 17 times Grand Slam winner might be well over his prime form. But what a stern return the Swiss maestro has seen. He has won 3 of the 4 Grand Slams that he participated in since returning from the injury. All that at an age above 35. It is considered to be an age where athletes started fading away but not that applies to athletes and Federer is not just an athlete, he is one of the greatest player of his game and one of the best athletes in the world as well. His 96 ATP titles display that.
Coming to the match, Federer defeated 6th seeded Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-2, 6-7(5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win his 6th title in Melbourne Park and his 20th overall Grand Slam title.
Up against Croatian, who had defeated top seed Rafael Nadal in his quarterfinal, looked in great form throughout the tournament, especially in the match against Spaniard where the world number 1 eventually retired.
Federer, who had yet to lose a set in the tournament, showed hunger, which is ever increasing, for the Grand Slam from the word go. He broke Cilic twice in the first 2 serves and raced to a 4-0 lead before signing off the first set 6-2.
The second set saw some fierce battle between the two. The Wimbledon finalists never looked like letting their opponent breathe easier. With no break points, the game went into the tie breaker where Cilic edged the world number 2 and made it 1-1.
The third set saw Federer up the ante and break Cilic again but the fourth set saw something unexpected. He broke Federer twice and it seemed like we are in for some surprise but one of the greatest players of all time, Federer, immediately left the disappointment behind to break Cilic again.
With the win Federer equalled Novak Djokovic’s and Roy Emerson for the most titles in Melbourne.
His title also meant that he now has 4 more Grand Slams titles than his nearest rival Rafael Nadal, who is also the top ranked player. Though the lead would be cut to just 156 points by Federer when the rankings are released on Monday. Cilic will jump to a career high 3.