Rafael Nadal described his first Australian Open victory as a “dream win” after claiming his first hard-court grand slam title with a five-set victory over Roger Federer. Nadal needed four hours and 23 minutes to get the better of three-time champion Federer 7-5 3-6 7-6 (7-3) 3-6 6-2 at Rod Laver Arena, his fifth victory against his Swiss rival in seven grand slam finals.
“It is very special for me. It’s a dream win, one grand slam on a hard court,” said the 22-year-old Nadal, the first Spanish player to win the Australian Open. “I’ve worked very hard all my life to improve my tennis outside of clay. I’m very happy, very happy to win the title.”
Nadal felt some sympathy for the man he defeated, especially given Federer’s emotional state after the match, but was thrilled to receive the trophy from one of the greatest tennis players of all time, Rod Laver.
“My uncle always told me Rod Laver was the best because he won two times the Grand Slam, the four in a row, and for like six or seven years he didn’t play,” Nadal added.
“Everything was special. I was sorry it was a tough moment for Rog. I know how tough it must be there for him.
“But he’s a great champion. He’s the best and he’s for sure a very important person for our sport.”