On Sunday night, Roger Federer won his sixth Australian Open, defeating Croatian Marin Cilic at Rod Laver Arena in five sets.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) January 28, 2018
But it’s his behaviour off-court that has attracted the most attention during his time in Australia.
When his ultimate challenger Rafael Nadal was forced to bow out after an injury, Federer wrote to him.
“I wrote Rafa late last night before I went to bed,” he said at a bursting Rod Laver Arena, having beaten 19th seed Tomas Berdych in straight sets in the Australian Open quarterfinal moments before.
“Last thing I did. I said I have to write Rafa to see how he’s doing. I hoped he was going to be OK with the scan today.”
“I’m hoping the news was not terrible,” Federer told interviewer Jim Courier. “It was not nice to see a fellow rival and friend like this go out. I wish him well.”
It wasn’t the first time the 36-year-old has sent a handwritten note to a competitor.
The Swiss man has made writing to his fallen rivals a habit since at least 2004, when former world no. 4 James Blake slammed into a net post while practicing on a clay court in Rome.
— James Blake (@JRBlake) January 24, 2018