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Federer wins 20th big title

As Roger Federer cried while accepting his 20th Grand Slam title, Rod "Rocket" Laver took a chance to snap a picture for posterity.

Federer has won more major singles titles than any man, including a record-equaling six on the court that bears the great Rod Laver's name at Melbourne Park.

This one, following a tension-filled, momentum-swinging 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1 win over Marin Cilic in Sunday's Australian Open final, was a keeper.

Federer arrived in Melbourne at the start of 2017 after an extended injury layoff and on a Grand Slam title drought that dated back to 2012 at Wimbledon. Against the odds, he reached the final and then beat Rafael Nadal in a classic, five-set encounter. Now, having successfully defended his Australian title, Federer has won three of the last five majors in a stunning career resurgence.

"I'm so happy. It's unbelievable," Federer said, taking deep breaths and choking back tears. "Of course, winning is an absolute dream come true — the fairytale continues for us, for me, after the great year I had last year, it's incredible."

Federer started to tear up toward the end of the trophy ceremony. He then received a standing ovation as tears streamed down his face.

At the age of 36 years, 173 days, Federer became the second-oldest man to win a Grand Slam singles title in the Open era after Ken Rosewall, who won the 1972 Australian Open at 37.

The match wasn't entirely without controversy after organizers decided to close the roof for the final, just as they had for the afternoon mixed doubles final when Mate Pavic and Gabriela Dabrowski beat Rohan Bopanna and Timea Babos for the title.

Former champions were among the commentators questioning the decision, suggesting there'd been hotter days when the heat policy was not enacted.

"I was surprised to hear they had the heat rule in place for a night match. I never heard that before," Federer said. "For me, it doesn't change anything."

It was clear early on that the crowd would be heavily pro-Federer. The arena was filled with red and white, with Federer supporters wearing Swiss flags on their shirts, hats and faces and one waving a sign that read: "The Big Two-Oh. Go Roger!"

"I've won three Slams now in 12 months. I can't believe it myself," said Federer, showing no signs he's ready for his resurgent run to stop. "I just got to keep a good schedule, stay hungry, then maybe good things can happen. I don't think age is an issue."



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