Roger Federer outlasts Rafael Nadal in classic Australian Open final

MELBOURNE AUSTRALIA- JANUARY 26 Detailed view of Stan Wawrinka of Switzerland's broken raquet between games in his semifinal match against Roger Federer of Switzerland on day 11 of the 2017 Australian Open at Melbourne Park

A furious Stan Wawrinka snapped his racquet over his knee during Australian Open

In one of the most entertaining matches of recent years between two of the greatest players ever to take to the court, Federer staged a stunning performance to pick up his first Grand Slam title since the 2014 French Open-winning 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3.

The Master Blaster then added that the thrilling final was a ideal example of the legendary Federer-Nadal rivalry. Nineteen majors came and went between Boris Becker's 1991 and 1996 Australian Open titles, and 21 by the time Arthur Ashe followed his 1970 Australian Open triumph with victory at Wimbledon in 1976.

Nadal holds a 6-2 lead over the Swiss maestro in grand slam deciders and was also the victor in the duo's only previous Australian Open final, prevailing in a five-set epic in 2009.

Won the French Open on his debut and a year later beat Roger Federer in the final for his second title. In the five years since that 17th major win at Wimbledon in 2012, Nadal has collected three majors.

Federer had taken the last six months off and, like Nadal, was a surprise finalist because of recent injuries.

Both the men displayed the huge respect they had for each other after the marathon final.

"But at the French Open, if you're not in the draw you can't win it so I hope to be in the draw this year, not like last year".

"I think I tried".

When the time comes to weigh the greatest achievements of Roger Federer's glittering Grand Slam career, certain moments will resonate above all others.

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Getty Images

"Tennis is a tough sport, there are no draws in tennis but I would have been happy to accept one tonight and share it with Rafa", he said of a contest where they spent the first four sets winning 110 points each.

Yet here they were, the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, renewing the classic rivalry that saw them dominate tennis a decade ago.

The victory made Federer the first man in history to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slam events - five in Melbourne, seven at Wimbledon and five at the US Open.

Unusually for the Swiss, he took a medical timeout in the final as well as during his five-set semi with Stan Wawrinka.

The match tended to swing on Federer's performance level - when he remained mistake free his fluid strokeplay handed him winners, but when he was off his game slightly the mistakes came and Nadal took advantage.

Nadal was forced to save two break points in the opening game alone, setting the tone for a frenetic evening. He challenged the out call on his second serve, however, and it was overturned.

Nadal completed the 30-plus finals quartet Friday night when he repelled Dimitrov 6-3, 5-7, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (4), 6-4 in the energy-sapping, 4-hour, 56-minute semifinal. I said to myself, 'I am giving my best, I am playing very well.

"Him and a couple more players have done the most to do that to me because the way his game stacks up with me, it's a tricky one". When I go back to Switzerland, I'll think, "Wow".

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