Now we know he is thinking about the French Open Paris - who has the chance to stop him from getting all four slams this year? I have a lot less confidence in Nadal to stop him this year, mostly because I think that Nadal has lost confidence in himself.
The 25-year-old Swiss, in defeating the gutsy Fernando González, became the fourth man to win a grand-slam title without dropping a set, only one of whom — Björn Borg, at the 1980 French Open — played a full seven best-of-five-set matches. Ken Rosewall, who was perched in the VIP box here, played five matches in the 1971 Australian Open at Kooyong, having received a first-round bye in a 64-man draw.
This was Federer’s tenth grand-slam title, equalling the record of Bill Tilden, the American legend of the 1920s who won seven of his at the US Open, five against the same foe, Bill Johnson. Federer does at least face a new challenge every now and again, González being the eighth man to have been disposed of on these gala occasions. Federer has lost only one grand-slam final, to Rafael Nadal in Paris last June.
Last year in Melbourne, Federer dropped the first set of the final to Marcos Baghdatis, of Cyprus, who then tightened up and could not make the most of his early effervescence. Yesterday, in a brisk wind that played havoc with the usually faultless Federer forehand, González stuck to his guns, floating his backhand slice, pounding away when the opportunities arose on his own famed forehand and ruffling the champion to the extent that the Chilean had two chances to claim the first set at 5-4. In that game alone, Federer played three — for him — appalling forehands.
But it is at these moments that a challenger has to take his chances and, quite often, the reality of what he might achieve blunts his instincts. Times