Tearful Federer toasts ground-breaking Melbourne triumph
Roger Federer broke down in tears of celebration after winning his 20th grand slam title with a record-equalling sixth Australian Open final triumph.
Federer beat a spirited Marin Cilic 6-2 6-7 (5-7) 6-3 3-6 6-1 under the roof at Rod Laver Arena in over three hours to set a fresh benchmark in men's tennis.
Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal were eliminated at Melbourne Park amid fitness worries, while Andy Murray did not start the tournament at all, but Federer's serene rule over the game goes on, although any suggestions that winning at this level has become routine for the Swiss great were put to bed after he lifted the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup.
Having rolled through the usual list of thanks, Federer turned to his box and uttered: "My team, I love you guys, thank you" before bursting into tears and lifting the trophy again to a rapturous ovation.
Federer won in Melbourne and at Wimbledon last year to return to the reckoning in grand slams after it had been assumed he had gone beyond the peak of his powers.
Toasting another win, he said: "I'm so happy it was unbelievable.
"It's a long day waiting for the finals, it's easier when it's in the afternoon: you sleep, go out there, you play. When it's at night you think about the match all day and it's tough.
"I'm happy it's over now, either way, but of course winning is an absolute dream come true.
"The fairy tale continues for us, for me. After the great year I had last year... it's incredible."