With the Australian Open starting a week today, I randomly started watching some old YouTube clips of Aussie Open matches from yesteryear, it might just be because I’ve been watching solely Australian Open highlights, but I’ve kinda reached the conclusion that some of Fed’s best all time matches have been played in Melbourne, where he’s either A. Shown a lot of fighting spirit, or B. Put on a total masterclass of first strike tennis. So without further ado here are my top 5 matches:
5. Australian Open 4th Round 2009 vs. Tomas Berdych
We may as well start with a thriller and the match against Berdych in ’09 is most certainly that. It looked as though Roger might lose this one after he fell 2 sets to 0 down, but he clearly had other ideas about losing in the 4th round of a slam to roar back and win in 5 sets – 4-6, 6-7(4), 6-4, 6-4, 6-2. Some of the rallies in this match are awesome, and Fed shows off the full range of his defensive skills to stay in some of the points.
4. Australian Open Final 2009 vs. Rafael Nadal
You may be surprised that one of my favourite matches in this list is a defeat at the hand of Roger’s biggest rival – Nadal. This was one of these matches where Roger really should have won, but ultimately Nadals consistency, awkward moonballing style broke Roger mentally. In fact, this match probably had a very big knock on effect for many of their future matches. Despite that, this truly was a great Grand Slam final and had shotmaking of the highest order from both sides of the net.
3. Australian Open 3rd Round 2008 vs. Janko Tipsarevic
Another match where Roger could have crashed and burned but fought back to win 10-8 in the 5th set. Back then Tipsarevic had never won a title and was ranked at a lowly 49th in the world but somehow put in an awesome performance to almost cause one of the biggest upsets of the year. This match turned into one of the best serving performances we’ve seen from Fed in his career as he hit 39 aces in this 4hr marathon to eventually win 6-7 (5), 7-6 (1), 5-7, 6-1, 10-8. What’s even better about this performance as we later found out this was when Roger had mono, and had suffered food poisoning before the tournament. What a true professional.
2. Australian Open Quarter Final 2009 vs. Juan Martin Del Potro
Well so far I’ve listed 1 loss and 2 hard fought victories, so it’s only right that my number 2 match comes in the form of a total Swiss Masterclass. After Roger’s tough victory over Berdych in the round before many thought Del Potro could do some damage, but anyone predicting that couldn’t have been more wrong. This was JesusFed playing tennis from another planet, he struck the ball insanely well that day and pulled off just about every type of shot you can imagine. And when do you ever see a double bagel in the second week of a slam? This is just one of those matches that proves when Roger’s game “clicks” there really is nothing better to watch.
1. Australian Open Semi Final 2007 vs. Andy Roddick
My favourite match is another total masterclass from Roger, this time against his pigeon – Andy Roddick. Now heading into this match Roger had won 12 out of their 13 matches, but never before had he beaten Roddick so convincingly out there. He made Roddick look amateur in this match, back in ’07 Roddick had arguably the best serve on tour, yet Roger totally nullified it and came through in straight sets. Again, this match just shows, that when Federer is on his game, he really is unbeatable. I’ve also included Andy Roddick’s press conference from after the match, it’s one of those gems, that like this match, will likely be never forgotten. “How do you rate Haas’s or Gonzalez’s chances?” “Slim” classic.
What are your favourite Federer matches from the Australian Open? Let me know!