Federer says 18th slam 'smallest' part of Melbourne triumph

By Nick Mulvenney

MELBOURNE (Reuters) – Roger Federer said winning an 18th grand slam and extending his lead at the top of the list of most prolific major winners was a long way from being the most satisfying thing about winning his fifth Australian Open title on Sunday.

The Swiss master, who did not play for six months following Wimbledon last year after undergoing knee surgery, made a triumphant return in Australia and, seeded a lowly 17th, claimed his first grand slam title for 4 1/2 years after a five-set epic against Rafa Nadal.

The 18th slam edged him further ahead of Nadal and Pete Sampras, who share second place on the list of major winners with 14, and gave more grist to those who argue that Federer is the greatest player of all time.

“That’s the smallest part, to be honest,” the 35-year-old told a packed news conference more than two hours after his victory.

“For me it’s all…

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