Federer vs. Nadal: a rivalry for the aged

Switzerland's Roger Federer, right, is congratulated by Spain's Rafael Nadal, after Federer won the men's singles final at the Australian Open tennis championships in Melbourne, Australia, Sunday, Jan. 29, 2017.(AP Photo/Dita Alangkara)

Roger Federer beat Rafael Nadal in an incredible match to win the Australian Open.

The 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 victory gave Federer his 18th Grand Slam title, and it was the 35-year-old’s first major title since Wimbledon in 2012.

And it was all the sweeter for Federer because it came against his longtime nemesis:

“Against Rafa it’s always epic,” Federer said. “This one means a lot to me because he’s caused me problems over the years.”

ESPN puts Federer’s accomplishment in perspective:

And this tweet pretty much says it all about Roger’s career:

The match went the distance and included this epic rally:

Here’s the post-match celebration from two angles:

Those who watched the match were impressed:

The Daily Telegraph’s Charlie Eccleshare credits Nadal for helping to make Federer great (and takes an in-depth look at the rivalry):

The pair have taken the sport to new heights and over 13 years have lifted the other’s game to levels never seen before in the sport.

Eurosport’s Tom Adams takes the praise up a notch:

It has been a sporting rivalry to define an era. … Few matches in the grand, sweeping history of tennis have commanded as much attention as this. It is as if Muhammad Ali and Joe Fraizer had given us a fourth fight in their classic rivalry after the Thrilla in Manila, or if Steve Ovett and Sebastian Coe had contested another Olympics after Moscow in 1980. The most iconic sporting rivalry of the past 15 years has at least one more twist.

And, somehow, The Times of India’s Siddharth Saxena takes the praise up even another notch:

The timelessness of this unique rivalry is making the world full of yearning again. Fewer meetings in sport – outside of the hyperbole that is de rigueur in the industry today – retain such a contextual fullness to it. Pushing beyond age, injury, accompanying pain and fatigue, the laying bare of ambition and skill is what makes the Federer-Nadal marriage such an enduring, almost heart-breaking affair. In the manner of most supreme rivalries, the end may make you sad, but seldom leaves you bitter. Maybe, that is the everlasting takeaway.

What do you think? Is the Roger Federer vs. Rafael Nadal rivalry the best in tennis history? If not them, what is the best rivalry?

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