Federer wins 18th Grand Slam crown in Australia

The record-breaking 18th Grand Slam marks the 35-year-old's triumphant return from knee surgery Keystone

Switzerland's Roger Federer has beaten his great rival Rafael Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 to claim his fifth Australian Open title and his record-extending 18th grand slam title overall.

This content was published on January 29, 2017 - 16:00

In one of the great sporting rivalries of the modern age, Federer fought back from 3-1 down in the final set to seal his fifth crown at Melbourne Park.

Seeded 17th and playing his first tour tournament after six months out of the game, Federer capped his brilliant comeback from knee surgery with his first grand slam title since Wimbledon in 2012.

Lefthander Nadal, also returning from injury this year, showed excellent form at the baseline but was unable to stay with Federer in the fifth deciding set.

The Swiss, for many the greatest player of all time, celebrated with tears in his eyes but his first words were for his old friend and rival.

Swiss sportsmen tweeted their fulsome praise of the tennisman.

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And Swiss officials also showed their respect.

His wife Mirka was also delighted.

The 18th grand slam edged him further ahead of Nadal and Pete Sampras, who share second place on the list of all-time winners with 14.

"That's the smallest part, to be honest," Federer told reporters after his win. "For me it's all about the comeback, about an epic match with Rafa again. Doing it here in Australia ... that I can still do it at my age after not having won a slam for almost five years.

"That's what I see. The last problem is the slam count. Honestly, it doesn't matter."

The victory was his first against Nadal in Melbourne and ended a six-game losing streak against the Spaniard at grand slams, with his last major win over his rival coming in the 2007 Wimbledon final.

The win also made Federer the first player ever to win five titles at three different grand slams and at 35, the oldest grand slam winner since Ken Rosewall won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

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