If this is to be the final act in the sprawling sporting epic of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, then it was fitting. Both took turns to wreathe it in their own, bespoke glory: Federer's serene joust took the first and third sets, Nadal's incorrigible brilliance took the second and the fourth, as if both were taking turns to uphold their duty to everyone to take this remarkable rivalry to a fifth set.
They did exactly that, and the fifth set proved to have a healthy contempt for momentum: Nadal broke Federer in the first game of the fifth set, only for Federer to battle back and break him twice in games five and seven. Nadal tried heroically to stem the tide in the final game, with Federer serving for the Championship, but in the end, Federer ghosted further into legend.
Here is the moment hawk-eye confirmed Federer's final return had kissed the chalk, and his eighteenth Grand Slam victory was confirmed:
— #AusOpen (@AustralianOpen) January 29, 2017
Here is some of the best reaction to an edifying event:
— US Open Tennis (@usopen) January 29, 2017
— Rory McIlroy (@McIlroyRory) January 29, 2017
Let's take a moment and let it sink in just how lucky we are to have been able to witness Federer and Nadal at their prime.
— Priya Ramesh (@Priya8Ramesh) January 29, 2017
Federer in five, five years after his last slam. Have to say I didn't see that coming when Nadal was a break up in the final set. Amazing.
— Owen Gibson (@owen_g) January 29, 2017
Federer's 18th slam, and probably his best. His Nicklaus at Augusta in 86 moment.
— Neil Treacy (@neil_treacy) January 29, 2017