Roger Federer won his 18th Grand Slam title and first for five years with a thrilling five-set victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final.
The 35-year-old Swiss won 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 to claim his fifth Melbourne title and extend his lead at the top of the all-time men’s major winners’ list.
Nadal, 30, remains tied in second with Pete Sampras on 14 Grand Slams following his first final since 2014.
Federer’s previous major title came at Wimbledon in 2012.
“I’ve been coming here for almost 20 years now,” he said. “I’ve always enjoyed it and now my family does too.Federer’s achievement in ending his drought is all the more remarkable given this was his first tournament since Wimbledon last July, after which he took the second half of the season off to recover from a knee injury.
He becomes the first man in history to win five or more titles at three different Grand Slam events – five Australian Opens, five US Opens and seven Wimbledons.
Nadal was also on the way back from injuries that curtailed his 2016 season, but the Spaniard could not improve his winning record against Federer – the Swiss has now won 12 of their 35 matches and three of nine major finals.
“I worked very hard to get where I am,” said Nadal. “I fight a lot, probably Roger deserved it a little bit more than me.
“I’m just going to keep trying. I feel I am back at a very high level.”
“Thanks again for everything, to everybody. I hope to see you next year. If not, this was a wonderful run here and I can’t be more happy to win.”