It took five sets for Federer to finally put away a game Marin Cilic. The back-and-forth match lasted just over three hours, with Federer taking over in the final set to win 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-3, 3-6, 6-1.
The is Federer's sixth Australian Open title and his second in a row. The only Grand Slam where he's more successful is at Wimbledon, where he's won eight titles.
The 36-year-old continues to defy the sport's conventional wisdom, dominating competition at a stage when most players have broken down completely or are simply not effective enough to go deep into major tournaments.
Here's his emotional post-match speech, per the Australian Open's official Twitter account:
I'M NOT CRYING, YOU'RE CRYING! 😭🙌 "You guys make me nervous. You guys make me practice. You guys fill the stadiums. Thank you." - @RogerFederer 💎 #AusOpen https://t.co/sGHCB6mhJG2018-1-28 12:08:54
If you want to catch the legendary Swiss player perform yet another unbelievable feat, here are several ways to take in this year's men's singles final.
Men's Final Replay Coverage
TV: Tennis Channel at 2 p.m, 5 p.m and 9 p.m. ET on Sunday*, Eurosport 1 at 8:05 p.m. and 10:46 p.m. GMT on Sunday*
It will come as little surprise that much of the tennis world and its luminaries were simply in awe of Federer's display on Sunday, and really throughout the entire tournament.
Legendary tennis player Rod Laver, whose namesake arena served as the site of the men's final, pointed out Federer's equals at the Australian Open:
Rod Laver @rodlaver
Emerson. Djokovic. Federer. 6 x Australian Open crowns apiece. Astonishing then, incredible now.2018-1-28 11:44:23
Freelance tennis writer Ben Rothenberg put his feelings into the form of a picture:
Ben Rothenberg @BenRothenberg
The great Billie Jean King was also quick to congratulate the champion:
Billie Jean King @BillieJeanKing
Congratulations to @rogerfederer, @AustralianOpen men’s singles champion and GOAT! https://t.co/uernEtmTiR2018-1-28 12:49:14
When Cilic won the tiebreaker in the second set to level the match at a set apiece, it marked the first set that Federer had dropped in the entire tournament. It's one thing for Federer to continue to win major titles, but for him to make it look so easy is awe-inspiring and starts to shatter any frame of reference one might have to describe his accomplishments.
According to AusOpen.com, Cilic had 45 winners to Federer's 41. However, Federer crushed him in break points, 46 percent to 22, and even outserved the big Croatian, hitting 24 aces to his opponent's 16.
Cilic showed incredible fight in a match that was all about momentum runs and who could win break points. He started off the match very poorly and looked nervous, per Fox Sports' Adam Peacock:
Adam Peacock @adampeacock3
Cilic has nervous as a 16yo trying his luck at the bottle-o with no fake ID. Federer as confident as a 16yo whose older brother works at the bottle-o2018-1-28 08:47:12
He was able to settle in and win the second set, and even though he looked broken again in the third, he roared back to win the fourth after starting it down 1-3. It was a far better and gustier performance than the 2017 Wimbledon final, in which Federer swept Cilic in three breezy sets.
However, the 29-year-old Cilic simply couldn't keep up with Federer's relentless skill, timing and precision. The Athletic's Danny Leroux summed it up:
Danny Leroux @DannyLeroux
Roger is incredible. Loved Cilic’s fight in the fourth set (and he had a chance in the early fifth) but Federer just keeps up the pressure.2018-1-28 11:39:28
Cilic is still under 30 and obviously one of the best talents in the sport. He will be disappointed to not bring home a second major trophy, but such is life playing in the same era as Federer. One has to think he will have more opportunities in his career.
Though it might seem like there is little else for Federer to chase down with so much already accomplished, there still are some milestones he may reach. He's the first man and the fourth player overall to win 20 major singles titles, per ESPN Stats & Info.
With few signs of slowing down, he may yet chase down Steffi Graf (22), Margaret Court (24) or put pressure on Serena Williams (23 and counting) to further her own legendary pursuits.
If his body continues to hold up, Federer might also best the great Ken Rosewall's record as the oldest man to win a Grand Slam title. Federer is 36, while Rosewall was just over 37 when he won the 1972 Australian Open. It seems like anything is possible for the evergreen Federer in his fairy-tale career.