Roger Federer has broken down in tears after winning his sixth Australian Open Men’s Singles title and 20th Grand Slam Singles title overall – a sign that Federer’s hatred for tennis continues to grow as the sport refuses to release him from its grasp.
The Swiss Federer defeated Croatian opponent Marin Čilić (6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6, 6-1) in another famous final that went to the maximum five sets to reach a result. While Federer was able to keep his emotions under control for most of the post-match ceremony, it was at the conclusion of his acceptance speech that he was no longer able to hide his sorrow.
Federer, 36, has been unable to escape the clutches of tennis since he turned professional 20 years ago, in 1998. While undeniably talented, Federer’s hatred of tennis has been long evident with emotional outbursts at several tournaments throughout his career. A feeling of obligation has been suspected to be the only driving force in Federer’s career, which he commented upon during his acceptance speech.
“I’d like to thank the sponsors for supporting this tournament. I’d like to thank Marin who put up a good fight today, you were great and you’re going to do great things in the future. Most of all I’d like to thank the fans who always come out and show me great love and support,” said Federer.
“Those fans who love to watch me hit tennis balls over this net over and over again. A lot of the time someone else hits it back, so I hit it again…and the fans love it.
“They can’t get enough of the constant hitting of tennis balls back and forth, back and forth, the mindless monotony of trying to bounce a ball inside this big rectangle that’s an allegory for life. Just like life you run up and down, from side to side just trying to stay in play but you can never just let loose…you have to stay in the boundaries that someone else has drawn. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU ALL? CAN’T YOU LET ME GO? WHY WON’T YOU SET ME FREE?!” Federer continued, before openly weeping clutching his trophy.
Long-time friend and former Australian tennis champion Rod Laver, speaking to ASW, was sympathetic to Federer’s plight.
“I’m 79 years old and I’m still forced to come to the tennis. The racquets are stronger, the players are faster, the serves are quicker…” said Laver.
“…but it’s still fucking tennis. Get ready for another 50 years, Roger. This is your life, now. It’s like the Hotel California, you can check out but you can never leave.
“I wanted to be a speech pathologist.”
Federer’s next chance to add to his Grand Slam tally will be at the French Open in May.