Hardcourt was Federer's territory but his strength was not enough to earn the title this time. It was more than the title up for grab. He had the opportunity to equal Sampras's record of 14 grand slam titles. Now it is put on hold until French open. I think Federer had the upper hand in the first four sets. However, when it went down to the 5th set, Federer was kind of mentally down and gave up the set.
During the award ceremony his emotions said the story. He broke down and couldn't even speak in the first attempt.
(Source: Australian Open)
Even Nadal seemed to be in a difficult situation and was a bit shaky about how to respond to the situation, but tried to calm down his opponent.
Now Nadal has won back to back major titles in clay, grass and hardcourt (for the first time). It was simply fascinating to see how he produced winners on the run. (During the first four sets I thought Federer was equally/more impressive than Nadal. I particularly loved the winner he produced by a back-hand shot.)
Now Federer has lost to Nadal in three major finals in a row. He needs to do something different to avoid being the runners-up again:
Nadal is kind of unstoppable now. I think both are equally talented and have their own strengths (there were a lot of "what a shot" moments during the game) - more than the ability it all boils down to the belief that one can beat the other. Only if and when Federer regroups to believe in himself, will he equal/overtake Sampras's record..