Roger Federer en route to victory. Across the net was his nemesis, Rafael Nadal, the left-handed Spaniard he hadn't been able to beat in a major final in nearly a decade.
"I knew from that point on, like, I actually did really win". Both the men's and women's Australian Open champions, Roger Federer and Serena Williams, were both born in 1981, the Year of the Rooster.
Roger Federer has climbed back into the ATP top 10 on the strength of his epic 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. Nadal remained tied with Pete Sampras in second place with 14.
"So I think to be critical there is exaggerating".
Federer said he would take time to reflect and let his body recover before his next tournament in Dubai from February 27.
"If I do get injured, you know, maybe if I miss next year, who knows what happens ..."
With big wins come big celebrations, Federer said. All of the pressure just went away and we were just all celebrating.
The Australian crowd became more animated in the third, pushing Federer to save two break points in the first game - Nadal fired a forehand straight into the net - when his net play wasn't working, only to break the world No. 9's serve the next game.
Federer had lost five semifinals in Australia since winning his previous title here in 2010.
The 35-year-old, who has barely been troubled by injury throughout his illustrious career, resorted to taking a medical time-out after losing the fourth set in the final to nemesis Rafael Nadal.
They weren't the only ones to grasp the significance of perhaps Federer's most unlikely Grand Slam win, his first since Wimbledon in 2012. "The magnitude of this match is going to feel different", he said. "I can't compare this one with any other one except for maybe the French Open in '09", Federer said. I waited for the French Open, I tried, I fought, I tried again and failed. "This feels similar, yeah".
Yet here they were, the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, renewing the classic rivalry that saw them dominate tennis a decade ago.
He finished the speech there and embraced Laver for a second time.
Stan Wawrinka, defeated in the semis last week by Federer, is up one in third. That was the night before Nadal held off Grigor Dimitrov in an nearly five-hour, five-set semifinal late Friday.
It started as a tense battle in the first set where neither player was willing to push too hard in fear of giving the other a break, before Federer managed to exploit Nadal's weak side, rushing the net and attacking his backhand before firing a victor on the other side of the court in the seventh game. I can't tell you which finals or - not a finals maybe, but some matches end this way. After Djokovic broke to level at 4-4, he made a crucial break to edge Nadal in thrilling fashion.
Serving for the match, and after saving two break points, Federer was called for a double-fault at deuce. Tempo back in his court.
The Swiss was extremely confident his forehand victor had clipped the line, but he had to delay his celebrations as Nadal turned to Hawkeye.
Federer had promised to "party like rock stars" after capturing his fifth Australian Open crown, and he was bleary eyed when he turned up to the champions' photo shoot in Melbourne yesterday.
"Congratulation to Roger. Just fantastic, the way he's playing after such a long time of him not being on the tour", Nadal said.
"I fight a lot these two weeks", he added. It did a little bit potentially.