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Federer wins 16th major, prolongs British drought

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer felt awkward for a moment, celebrating his 16th Grand Slam title while Andy Murray cried for Britain.

Federer timed his run to perfection at the season's first major, beating fifth-seeded Murray 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11) in the Sunday night final to collect his fourth Australian Open title.

A year ago, Federer was sobbing after a five-set loss to Rafael Nadal at Melbourne Park. He'd missed a chance to equal Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slams, compounding an emotional few weeks.

Since then he finally won on clay at the French Open to complete a career Grand Slam of all four majors and equal Sampras' record. Then he triumphed at Wimbledon for his 15th record title. He also became a father of twins.

This time, it was Murray who was fighting tears after missing a chance to become the first British man since 1936 to win a major.

Federer, however, enjoys making history. This was his 22nd Grand Slam final, his 18th in the last 19, and he compared this triumph with last year's Wimbledon win.

"This felt similar in a way, because all of a sudden it was over and it hit me," he said. "It was very much a roller coaster with the emotions. I guess the match point was over, and I was like, 'Oh, my God, this is it. It was great."

Not so much for Murray, who drew deep breaths as he apologized for failing to end a 74-year-old drought for British men.

"Hopefully, one time I can come back and win here," he said, his voice breaking. "I got great support back home the last couple of weeks. Sorry I couldn't do it for you tonight but. ..."

Murray could barely finish his thank-you, explaining: "I can cry like Roger; it's just a shame I can't play like him."

Both the crowd and Federer embraced Murray's display of emotion.

"In a way it was hard to watch, but at the same time I like seeing players who care for the game," Federer said. "It's nice to see, you know. So you wish only the best for him."