Rafael Nadal ousted Roger Federer in five sets for the title in the Australian Open. Roger had nowhere to hide. Rod Laver was about to present the cup to Australian Open champion Rafael Nadal. Federer stood on the court, having just missed his first chance to equal Pete Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam singles titles. He was sobbing. He could not speak. I guess I can't blame him, can you? He said it was the worst feeling. He was stuck out there and the problem was he couldn't go in the locker room and just take it easy and take a cold shower.
Nadal, the first Spanish man to win the Australian Open, beat Federer in Grand Slam finals on clay and grass last year. He added the missing link Sunday with his first major title on hard courts. The 22 year old Spaniard is 5-2 against Federer in championship matches at the majors. That was 3-0 in the last three and 13-6 in career meetings. I guess the most riveting was Nadal's five-set, 4 hour, 48 minute win over Federer at Wimbledon last year, ending the Swiss star's five year reign on grass. Now, here it is 40 years after Rod Laver last won the Grand Slam, all four majors in one season, Nadal is the only man who can emulate him in 2009. Until now, Federer had been the most likely of the recent contenders but he missed by one in 2006. That has got to be tough to take.