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2009 Australian Open Men's Final

1 rating: 4.0
The final of the australian open tennis tournament, between Nadal and Federer

Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer contested The 2009 Australian Open Men's Final, the 7th time they have met in a grand slam final.  Nadal won in 5 sets.  

Tags: Tennis, Federer, Nadal, Rivalry, 2009 Australian Open
1 review about 2009 Australian Open Men's Final

Tennis, rivalry, and the denial of a dream

  • Feb 4, 2009
  • by
Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer contested the 2009 Australian Open Men's Final, the 7th time they have met in a grand slam final.  Many commentators consider the last meeting of Nadal and Federer, in the Wimbledon Final in 2008, the greatest tennis match every played.  Because of the quality of that last match, the expectations for the Australian Open final were quite high.
Federer faces a rapidly closing window in his quest to become the greatest player of all time.  In the absence of Nadal, his place in tennis lore would have been secured, but Nadal had beaten him in 4 of their 6 Grand Slam final meetings, denying him the one major he currently doesn't have, the French Open, and ending his streak at five consecutive Wimbledon titles.  Federer needed only this one additional single major win to tie Pete Sampras at 14.  For Nadal, the stakes were slightly lower.   Originally considered a clay court specialist, last year he broke through to win Wimbledon on grass and the Olympic gold on a hard court.  But a win on hard courts at a major would cement his status as one of the game's greats.

The match, while not at the level of the Wimbledon final, still went to 5 sets and had a variety of spectacular points and twists and turns.  I especially enjoyed the ESPN vertical coverage which they used to show replays of about one in every 50 points -- it gives you a sense of how fast the ball is moving that you can't really get from watching the match from the traditional camera angles.  Nadal was victorious in the end, and handled the win with the grace and respect for Federer that has become his trademark.  Federer was obviously devastated.  He could tell that his opportunities to surpass Sampras were coming to an end, and he was not happy with how he played in the deciding set.  Federer actually had to take a break before he could give his runner's up speech.  

This match had significant implications for the rivalry between Federer and Nadal, and the legacy of both.   Nadal presents a very bad match up for Federer, because Nadal is left handed and because of the amount of top spin he generates.  Federer is used to being able to slice his backhand cross court consistently, using this to draw his opponent in and off balance.  Nadal, because he can hit this shot with his forehand, and because of the amazing topspin he generates, can force Federer away from his normal style by attacking this standard backhand in a way that no other player can.  As a result, Nadal has a huge advantage when he plays against Federer, even though Federer can potentially outplay other opponents in a way that Nadal can not match. 
If Federer can find a way to counteract the trend and win a few more of the meetings, this will go down as one of the greatest rivalries in the history of the sport.  If he can't, it will unfortunately tarnish his legacy to some degree to be so dominated by another player, especially if the current trend continues and Nadal continues to beat him on all surfaces, rather than just clay.   To put the Federer Nadal rivalry into perspective, some of the great rivalries in tennis history have already met less frequently in the finals of a grand slam.  For example, Agassi and Sampras met only 5 times in the final of a grand slam, and Borg played McEnroe only 4 times in grand slam finals.  The only thing the rivalry lacks is an ebb and flow, and a bit of balance in the results.  I'm hoping for both, and eagerly looking forward to future meetings.
Nadal and Federer emotion after the final

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February 04, 2009
I remember watching Wimbledon til the end and so excited Nadal won... I wish I had stayed up to finish watching their match the other day!! It was so good but I fell asleep somewhere around 3... There's something about Nadal's personality that makes me want him to win over Federer.
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Federer and Nadal after the match
Related Topics
Rafael Nadal

Spanish professional tennis player

Federer with trophy

The 2009 Final of the Wimbledon tennis tournament

2009 Roland Garros Men's Final

The final of the French Open tournament between Roger Federe

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