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How Australian Open champion Roger Federer became ‘tech savvy’

Roger Federer, the new Australian Open champion and the most successful Grand Slam champion ever, has had a distinct opinion as far as replays at the highest level in tennis goes

tennis Updated: Jan 29, 2017 22:31 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Roger Federer,Rafael Nadal,Fedal
Switzerland's Roger Federer with his prize, the Norman Brookes Challenge Cup, after beating Rafael Nadal in the final to win the Australian Open on Sunday. (REUTERS)

Some years ago, Switzerland’s Roger Federer was at the height of his prowess, when the replay system left him fuming in frustration at Wimbledon.(Roger Federer vs Rafael Nadal final match highlights)

“This HawkEye is killing me”, he erupted in dismay after a few of his challenges went in favour of his opponent, Rafael Nadal during the 2007 Wimbledon final.

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Years on, at the cusp of ending a long wait for a Grand Slam title that had lasted since the 2012 Wimbledon, Federer was grateful the HawkEye settled his sensational Australian Open final on Sunday against the same opponent -- his greatest rival, Nadal.

Federer explained those tense seconds in the end in an interview on the tournament website.

“I thought it was in. There was 90 per cent chance that it was on the line. the good things is he didn’t play it, so if it was on the line it was game, set and match. It was a long wait, but so much sweeter, maybe.

“It was definitely an awkward moment at match point, that’s why we got the Hawk-Eye, the challenge system is there. I’m happy it didn’t disappoint me.”

Serving for the match at 5-3, Federer was made to sweat by Nadal as he had to first save two breakpoints, with an ace and a forehand winner.

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At deuce, he was called for a double fault, but challenged. The call was overturned and he got to play two. Soon after, he produced an ace to get his second match point and hit a forehand crosscourt winner to Nadal’s backhand to finish off.

But his celebrations were delayed after Nadal challenged the call. A tense Federer watched the replay on the big screen, and leapt for joy when it showed the shot was in and he had clinched the thriller.

It wasn’t any surprise that Federer’s outlook for the replay technology had undergone a sea change. This is what he said as he soaked in the victory.

First Published: Jan 29, 2017 22:15 IST