last man standing

MELBOURNE Roger Federer has a 16th grand slam title, a fourth in Australia and his dominance over men's tennis shows no sign of ending while Britain's long wait continues.

MELBOURNE Roger Federer has a 16th grand slam title, a fourth in Australia and his dominance over men's tennis shows no sign of ending while Britain's long wait continues.

The added burden of 74 years of expectation was too much for Andy Murray and he was unable to produce his best when it mattered most.

The Scotsman was brave but Federer was just too good, winning yesterday's Australian Open final 6-3 6-4 7-6 in two hours and 41 minutes. It was not so much a match as a tennis lesson.

At the presentation ceremony, Murray broke down in tears, just as Federer had done when he won in 2006 and again last year when he lost to Rafael Nadal.

"I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him," Murray said.

Murray's time may still come. He is just 22 and has already played in two grand slam finals, at the US Open two years ago and now in Australia.

He might have lost both in straight sets to Federer but there is no shame in that. The apprentice's best years are still ahead of him and Britain may yet get their first male grand slam champion since Fred Perry won the US Open in 1936.

"You're too good a player not to win a grand slam so don't worry about it," Federer told the teary-eyed Briton.

Federer's game is not quite as clinical and precise as it used to be, he double-faults and shanks the ball into the stands like everyone else. He is mortal after all.

But his grip on the game has never been tighter. He may not be able to run as fast as some of his younger rivals but his court craft and ability to handle pressure situations have kept him well ahead of the chasing pack.

There were moments when Murray frustrated and put Federer under pressure, with some absorbing rallies.

"I'm over the moon, winning this again," Federer said.

"This is also special because it's my first grand slam as a father." - Reuters

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