Roger Federer has won his 18th Grand Slam singles title defeating his long-term respected rival Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open last night in a five-set thriller, 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3.
His first Grand Slam victory since 2012 and coming off a six-month absence from the tour, Federer's journey back to the top has been a long one. Visibly emotional and jumping for joy as his title win was confirmed (the final point was decided by video review) it was obvious that, while each Grand Slam victory has the same statistical importance, this most recent one may have been the most sweet.
ASW now looks back at the lead-up to Federer's victory and the obstacles he overcame to cement his place as the man ahead of everyone that's come before.
January, 2016: Federer lost to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals of last year's Australian Open. The day after his tournament exit, Federer sustained a knee injury from attempting to kick a homeless person's hat full of coins. A torn meniscus the result, Federer was forced to miss action in February and March.
March, 2016: His expected comeback at the Miami Open had to be postponed due to a stomach virus, believed to have been contracted during a grappling street-fight against another member of the homeless community whose main attacking move was to cough directly down Roger's throat.
April, 2016: Federer returned to action at the Monte-Carlo Masters eventually losing to Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarter finals. Expecting to continue on to the Madrid Open Federer suffered another injury, this time his back, while attempting to help load an unexpectedly heavy shipment of firearms and narcotics into the cargo hold of an oil tanker off the coast of Spain. His lingering injuries eventually saw him withdraw from the French Open, the first time he had missed a Grand Slam tournament since 2000.
June, 2016: Federer participated at Wimbledon losing in the semi finals to Milos Raonic. During the course of the tournament, however, his early round wins earned him the honour of equalling Jimmy Connors record of 84 match wins at the tournament. Despite this record he still left England as a tremendous loser, embarrassed beyond belief.
July, 2016: Federer announced he would miss the Olympics and subsequently the remainder of the season due to ongoing concerns over his knee injury.
October, 2016: Federer watched Westworld.
January, 2017: Federer returned to partner Belinda Bencic representing Switzerland at the Hopman Cup, the first time he had participated in the tournament since 2002 when racquets were made of wood and everyone wore a hat. They were knocked out in the round-robin stage.
Australian Open, 2017: After last-minute recalibrations on his new bionic leg, Federer dropped a set to 300th-ranked qualifier Jurgen Melzer in the first round. Upon realising that his knee had been turned to the 'hop' setting (with suspicions of dressing-room sabotage), Federer was able to make the necessary adjustments that saw him win his second and third round matches in straight sets, defeating top 10 player Tomas Berdych.
A five-set win against number five seed Kei Nishikori followed, and then victories over Mischa Zverev and Stan Wawrinka, earning Federer a place in the final against Rafael Nadal. In a see-sawing five set match that saw them win alternating sets, Federer was down a break early in the fifth, before finally stabbing Nadal directly in the heart with the sharpened handle of his racquet allowing him to break back. The momentum, and horrific blood loss, was against Nadal and he couldn't hold back the Federer tide, with the Swiss champion breaking Nadal's serve one more time before serving out the match.
With tears welling in his eyes and his ever faithful wife cheering him from the stands, Federer pushed Rod Laver aside, punched Nadal in the gut and held his trophy aloft, surely crowned as the Greatest Of All Time.
Serena Williams has defeated her sister, Venus, to win the 2017 Australian Open Women's Singles title and her 23rd Grand Slam title overall. Serena won in straight sets, 6-4 6-4, in 1 hour 21 minutes, regaining the number one world ranking in the process.
Here are the main talking points from a family final...
The Williams Campervan: Much of the pre-game talk was speculation over which Williams sister would get the top bunk bed in the family's campervan the night before the big match. Reporters swarmed the vehicle as it pulled up to Rod Laver Arena to try to get the inside scoop but they weren't prepared for the answer! Serena slept in a sleeping bag under their recently purchased Vango Air Beam Airaway Kela Awning which affixed to the side of the van, providing shelter and comfort on a cosy Melbourne summer night!
Breaking Point: The first four games of the match saw neither sister holding serve, with the score equal at 2-2. Serena smashed her racquet in frustration during the third game which many thought might hinder her chances as it was her lucky racquet that she had bought in an Egyptian market. A golden scarab beetle encased in the handle had long been believed to give they who wielded it exceptional abilities. As the match wore on it became obvious to all that the Egyptian mystic who had sold her the racquet was a scam artist full of shit.
Return to Sender: Serena won both sets by a single break of serve and her ability to hit return winners proved to be the difference. Serena only won 10 more points than Venus over the course of the match 69-59, however seven of those were return winners while Venus was unable to manage any. Venus only won 29% of points on her second serve and 0% on her third and fourth.
Subdued Celebrations: As Serena watched a Venus shot land wide on Championship Point she sat on the ground in a reserved celebration of relief, rather than exultant joy, before embracing her sister and contemplating what she had achieved. By winning her 23rd Grand Slam singles title, Serena surpassed the previous Open-era record of 22 Grand Slam singles titles previously held by Steffi Graf. Of course, being the Australian Open, Basil Zempilas, who looks like a greasy sock, didn't mention this statistic in the post-match presentation, opting to focus on the fact that Margaret Court was still one Grand Slam ahead despite winning them under different circumstances as an amateur.
The Most Literal Post-Match Speeches of All Time: Venus was composed and gracious in defeat while Serena was thankful and humble in victory, but this didn't stop the sisters from giving the most literal post-match speeches of all time.
"That's my little sister, guys," said Venus in reference to Serena and, in the process, clearing up any residual confusion as to why two players with such similar names were playing against each other in the final.
"She's the only reason the Williams sisters exist," said Serena of Venus in her subsequent speech, expanding on Venus's revelation that they were sisters and pointing out that without one of the requisite sisters, the sisters would not be sisters.
In thanking her parents, Serena also touched on the foundations of evolutionary biology and the nature of animal reproduction.
"Life wouldn't be possible without them," said Serena and, in referencing both mother and father, eliminated the possibility of any truth in the rumour that her mother created her by asexual reproduction processes.
A Nice Sandwich: Following the pomp and ceremony, Serena and Venus retired back to their campervan, shook hands, and shared a lovely curried egg sandwich, ready for an early night as their day had been very tiring.
After 16 years since her last Australian Open semi-final appearance, Venus Williams once again has a chance to go through to the Australian Open final if she defeats CoCo Vandeweghe tomorrow.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the draw, her sister Serena has the same opportunity if she can overcome Mirjana Lucic-Baroni. If both Williams sisters progress to the final it will be their ninth meeting in a Grand Slam singles final and their first since 2009, the exact amount of time needed to have passed to create an interesting narrative again.
Venus, 36, is now the oldest woman ever to reach the semi-finals at the Australian Open, and says she felt it was time.
"Truth is I was getting bored. I was watching some home movies from when Serena and I were just kids, playing together, showing off for mom and dad, winning Wimbledon, and I just got nostalgic. I called her (Serena) up and just said 'Hey girl, wanna catch up? Relive the old days?' and she was as excited as me," said Venus.
Serena spoke of her surprise to hear from her sister.
"I couldn't believe it. I was at home polishing my French Open and Australian Open trophies, y'know, the ones Venus doesn't have, when the phone rang.
"It was like a bolt of lightning out of clear sky! I mean, I hadn't played Venus in a Grand Slam singles final since Wimbledon in 2009, which I won, and it just seemed crazy.
"Of course we had to do it. I was so excited. I had to ring all the other girls on the (WTA) tour just to tell them that we'd both be trying again. Some were disappointed, some were excited for us, but they all understood."
Martina Hingis, another former world number 1 who is younger than Venus and played her last Australian Open singles tournament a decade ago, expressed happiness for her former rivals.
"Oh yeah, I remember them. From years ago, right? Good on them. I can remember the first time I played against Venus in a Grand Slam final clearly because the next day I watched the premiere episode of Ally McBeal.
"Yes, we played in a Grand Slam final before Ally McBeal."
Millions are expected to watch the final this weekend if the Williams sisters get through because, regardless of the victor, the real winner will be tennis (if that's how you interpret the continual domination of the tennis community by one family over 20 years).