Roger Federer captures 20th Grand Slam title, wins 2018 Australian Open

By @saihoops on
Roger Federer, 2018 Australian Open
Tennis - Australian Open - Men's singles final - Rod Laver Arena, Melbourne, Australia, January 28, 2018. Switzerland's Roger Federer celebrates with the trophy as he poses after winning the final against Croatia's Marin Cilic. Reuters / Edgar Su

World No. 2 Roger Federer added another feather to his cap on Sunday by winning his record 20th Grand Slam title, the 2018 Australian Open championship, in front of a capacity crowd at the Rod Laver Arena. In a gruelling battle that lasted three hours, Federer defeated World No. 6 Marin Cilic 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 to win his sixth Australian Open championship and second consecutive title at Melbourne Park. 

With former Australian Open champions Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Stan Wawrinka beginning the new season on the back of injury layoffs, Federer entered the tournament as the odds-on favourite. The Swiss Master didn't disappoint his fans, pulling through after giving Cilic three break points in the first game of the fifth and final set.

"I'm so happy. It's unbelievable. Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true -- the fairy tale continues for me. After the great year I had last year. It's incredible," an emotional Federer said during his acceptance speech, holding back his tears.

Roger Federer breaks into tears in emotional speech

Federer then proceeded to thank his fervent fanbase that has enjoyed his highs and lows over the course of two decades. "You guys, you feel the stadiums, and you make me nervous. You make me go out and practise. I'd just like to thank you for everything, It wouldn't be the same without you, thank you. Marin's (Cilic) team as well. You guys work hard, all the best.

"And my team, I love you guys. Thank you," Federer added before the tears began to flow. 

After a dominating fourth set victory, Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, had gathered a ton of momentum and was primed to win his career second Grand Slam title. However, Federer produced a few special forehand returns early in the fifth set to break Cilic's serve, after which the veteran Swiss regained the bounce in his step. Federer got the crucial double-break in the fourth game before adding the finishing touches. Cilic couldn't come up with answers to challenge Federer's service game, which has truly stood the test of time. 

“It was an amazing journey for me to come here to the final. It could have been the best two weeks of my life. But today was a tough match. I had a slight chance at the beginning of fifth but really Roger played great set," said Cilic, who defeated World No. 1 Rafael Nadal in the quarter-final en route his third Grand Slam finals appearance. 

Roger Federer, 36, has become the first men's singles player in the Open Era to win 20 Grand Slam titles. Federer joins three legendary women's players, Margaret Court (24), Serena Williams (23) and Steffi Graf (22), in the exclusive 20s club. Though there is speculation of a possible Roger Federer retirement, the Swiss Master is already the favourite entering this year's Wimbledon. Federer turns 37 on Aug. 8.