Grand Slam winner Richard Krajicek believes Roger Federer "did not want to face Rafael Nadal" in the final of the 2017 Australian Open final owing to his past record in major tournaments against the Spaniard.
The Swiss ace and his long-time rival and friend surprised themselves by making the summit clash at the first Grand Slam of the year despite both the players only returning from injury at the start of the year. Federer and Nadal were not favourites at the start of the tournament but lifted their game to overcome challenges from higher ranked players and make the final. It was a final no one thought possible a few months earlier owing to their lack of form and fitness in recent years.
The clash between the two former world number ones lived up to the billing and went the distance with Federer taking it in five sets 6-4, 3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3 after three hours and 37 minutes. The Swiss maestro displayed some of the best attacking tennis ever seen to come from a break down in the fifth set and deny Nadal his 15th Grand Slam title.
Krajicek, however, believes Federer was not keen on facing Nadal despite playing some incredible matches on the way to the final. The Spaniard leads Federer in their head-to-head count in all aspects. He leads the Swiss player in their overall head-to-head count 23-12 and also leads in the head-to-head in Grand Slam finals 6-3.
"I think he played some good matches in Australia. I liked much the match against Nishikori and Obviously against Nadal and Wawrinka as well, even if this last one was up and down by both sides," Krajicek said, as quoted by tennisworldusa.org
"I think Federer didn't want to face Nadal. He had lost many matches against him especially in the big stages. But this time he managed to beat him breaking back in the fifth set," the 1996 Wimbledon winner added.