Australian Open epic between Federer-Nadal draws 3.6m viewers

Arvind Hickman
By Arvind Hickman | 30 January 2017
Tennis immortal Rod Laver congratulates Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal after their epic five-set decider at the Australian Open.

The epic Australian Open men's final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal drew a TV audience of 3.6 million Australians, including 2.8 million in the five capitals, making it the most watched decider for more than a decade and providing a surge in advertiser interest for Seven.

The pulsating match, which pitted two modern greats of the game in what could well be their last grand slam final against one another, saw Federer capture his 18th grand slam title 6-4,3-6, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, after coming back from a break down in the fifth set.

Billed as one of the greatest matches of all time, it sure lived up to its pre-match hype, with the last two sets in particular featuring the sort of sublime stroke-making, athleticism and sportsmanship fans have become accustomed to in Rafa-FedEx contests over the years.

“I am out of words and Rafa said so many great thing, but of course, I want to congratulate Rafa on such an amazing comeback,” Federer said post match.

“Tennis is a tough sport. There is no draws but if there was one, I would have been happy to have one tonight and share it with Rafa.”

The match was easily the most watched program of the night and the weekend.

Ten's new season of I'm A Celebrity...Get Me Out of Here launched on Sudnay night with an average of 1.54 million viewers national, including 1.1 million metropolitan viewers. Just under one million (966,000) metro viewers tuned in to watch contestants enter the jungle, including AFL star Dane Swan and shock jock Steve Price. See more on I'm A Celeb here.

On Saturday, tennis outrated the Big Bash League final. An audience of 1.77 million Australians (including 1.3 million metro viewers) tuned in to watch Serena Williams take out the women's title with a 6-4, 6-4 win over elder sister Venus on Seven.

The victory was made sweeter by Serena setting a new Open era record of 23 grand slam titles; she is now one behind the all-time record holder Margaret Court.

In the cricket, an average audience of 1.48 million fans (including 959,000 million metro viewers) tuned in to watch the red-hot Perth Scorchers destroy the Sydney Sixers in the second session of the Big Bash League final at the WACA.

The match rated better for under-55s than the tennis, particularly in Perth, but was only the fourth top program in Sydney. This illustrates how many Sydneysiders turned off the match after Perth established a commanding position early in the run chase, guided by Michael Klinger's outstanding 71 not out.

It was a fitting end to the summer sport season. Now attention shifts to reality TV as Seven launches My Kitchen Rules and Bride and Prejuduce while Nine kick's off Married at First Sight as the ratings season officially begins today.

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