Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A year ago, Roger Federer broke into tears after losing to Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.
This time around, it was Andy Murray who was reduced to tears after Federer beat him, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (13-11) to win his fourth Australian Open title and 16th career Grand Slam.
“I can cry like Roger. I just can’t play like him,” said Murray, a Scot who fought off two match points before netting a backhand on the third championship point in the tiebreak.
Before the final, Federer had joked that no Brit had won a major in “150,000 years.” Actually, the drought is 74 years, dating back to Fred Perry in 1936.
Murray was carrying the hopes of Great Britain on his shoulders and apologized to the folks at home for not winning in his second major final. He also lost to Federer in straight sets in the 2008 U.S. Open final.
“You’re too good of a player not to win a Grand Slam,” Federer told Murray, “so don’t worry about it.”
Federer, 28, was brilliant in dispatching Murray in straight sets and reestablishing himself as the world’s No. 1 and, arguably, The Greatest Tennis Player ever.
“I’m over the moon from winning this again,” said Federer, who improved to 16-6 in major finals and extended his record for most career Slams to two past Pete Sampras’ old mark of 14.
“I think I played some of the best tennis of my life the last two weeks so this is obviously a very special moment. It’s also very special, the first Grand Slam as a father.”
Federer and his wife, Mirka, became the parents of twin girls last year and that fed doubts that Federer would be able to maintain his grip on No. 1.
Now he says he hopes his daughters can be in his box next year in Melbourne.
“I’m looking forward to next year. Maybe they’ll sit in the box there next year. That would be amazing,” he said.
With Nadal, a four-time French Open winner, out for a month with a tear in his knee, aggravated by tendonitis, Federer could be the favorite to repeat at Roland Garros in May. He certainly shows no signs of slowing down.
Federer had lost in five sets to Juan Martin del Potro at the U.S. Open last September, yet he won two of the four majors in 2009, including his first French Open.
Still, the talk around tennis was how a young cadre of challengers — Murray, del Potro, Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and others — were ready to dethrone The King.
But Federer served notice that he is still on top and plans to stay there.
Said Murray: “He was a lot better than me tonight.”
Follow Adam Zagoria on Twitter.
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.