Roger Federer does not believe that the decision to play Sunday’s Australian Open final under a closed roof in Rod Laver Arena because of the sweltering conditions was a contributory factor in his 6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 victory over Marin Cilic.
Federer has long been regarded as the world’s best indoor player, while Cilic said he had struggled to adjust to the cooler temperature under the roof.
Even the sporting world’s very best, who otherwise seem absolutely invulnerable, let their emotions do the talking after achieving their goals. The god like Roger Federer showed his humane side when he let the tears flow after lifting a Grand Slam trophy for a staggering 20th time at the Australian Open 2018 in Melbourne on Sunday.
As the crowd applauded, the Swiss maestro did not hold himself back anymore and let it all sink in.
“I wasn’t sure if it was good for me or not, to play under the roof,” Federer said. “Of course, I backed myself in indoor conditions. This is where my first success ever came. I do think back that usually when I play indoors, it’s good for me.
“I was nervous the whole day, I thought about what would happen if I lose, if I win. That’s why I broke down during the speech,” he explained.
This is not the first time that Federer became emotional during the presentation ceremony after an Australian Open final. The image of Roger crying after the 2009 final and Rafael Nadal going up to console him is probably etched in every tennis fan’s memory.
Incidentally, it was after a tough five-set loss to his greatest rival.
“At the end, it’s not my decision. They kept me posted along the way. I was surprised to hear they had the heat rule in place for a night match. I never heard that before. When I arrived at the courts, I was totally ready to play outdoors, but they told me they were thinking it would probably be indoors.”
Cilic said he had found it difficult to adjust to playing indoors, especially at the beginning of the match. “Throughout the tournament I had played all my matches outdoors and I had been preparing for a hot day, 38 degrees,” he said. “Then I had to play my first match with the roof closed in the final.”
He added: “With the roof closed, it was way, way cooler than I expected. That was very, very difficult, especially to be in that kind of situation in the final.”
Federer said he had “no idea” how long he could continue playing at the highest level. “I’ve won three Slams now in 12 months,” he said. “I can’t believe it myself. I’ve just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. Then I don’t think age is an issue, per se. It’s just a number.
“But I need to be very careful in my planning, really decide beforehand what are my goals, what are my priorities. I think that’s what’s going to dictate how successful I will be.”