Monday, February 2, 2009

Spain heralds 'legendary' Nadal

The Spanish press heralded Rafael Nadal's Australian Open victory only minutes after the top-ranked player became the first Spaniard to win the season-opening Grand Slam.Nadal beat Roger Federer 7-5, 3-6, 7-6 (3), 3-6, 6-2 at the Rod Laver Arena to win his sixth major trophy and third straight Grand Slam final over Federer, who was denied a chance to tie Pete Sampras' record 14 major titles on Sunday."Nadal reaffirms his legend in Australia," the Diario de Mallorca wrote on the front page of its Web site. El Mundo's Web site called the victory "Undeniably Nadal," and AS labeled the 22-year-old from Mallorca the "King of Australia."Nadal has won three of the last four majors after taking a fourth straight French Open and first Wimbledon title in 2008. Nadal replaced Federer at No 1 after a record 237 weeks in August and then won the Olympic gold medal at the Beijing Games."He's a great champion, and a great example to all of the young people through the world," said Emilio Sanchez Vicario, Spain's former Davis Cup captain.Nadal has won five of the seven Grand Slam finals he's played against Federer and is 13-6 overall against the Swiss star.Three Spanish players had reached the Australian Open final before Nadal, with Carlos Moya being the last when he lost to Sampras in 1997.
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