An emotional Roger Federer wiped away tears and urged Rafa Nadal to stay with him on the tour for years to come after felling his great rival to win his fifth Australian Open yesterday.
Completing a brilliant comeback after six months out of the game, the nerve-shredding 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 win gave Federer a long-awaited 18th grand slam title that many thought beyond the 35-year-old Swiss.
Having endured a decade of grand slam heartbreak against Spaniard Nadal, 17th seed Federer roared back from 3-1 down in the tense final set, riding a wave of crowd support at a heaving Rod Laver Arena to mow through five straight games.
Federer sealed the title with a forehand winner on the second championship point but had to endure a nervous wait as Nadal challenged the line call.
The ball was good and Federer jumped in the air, with tears welling up in his eyes, having won his first grand slam title since Wimbledon in 2012.
Federer was presented with the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup by Australian great Rod Laver, sharing an embrace with the 11-times grand slam champion.
The win snapped Federer's six-game losing streak to Nadal at the grand slams, with his last major win over the Spaniard coming at the 2007 Wimbledon final.
It made Federer the first player ever to win five titles at three different grand slams.