Roger Federer claimed his record 15th grand slam crown and sixth Wimbledon title as he beat Andy Roddick 5-7 7-6 7-6 3-6 16-14 in an epic final on Sunday.
Federer’s five-set triumph sees him surpass American Pete Sampras, who was watching on Centre Court, but the second seed was pushed to the very limits by his big-serving opponent, with the climax coming in a marathon 30-game fifth set. Leading 15-14, Federer forced his first match point against a tiring opponent who mishit a forehand to see his own hopes of victory cruelly ended. It was the first time that sixth seed Roddick had dropped his service in a match lasting four hours and 16 minutes. The triumph will see Federer reclaim the world number one spot from Rafael Nadal, who beat him in last year’s final but missed this year’s championships through injury. Federer profile: One of the greatest. Federer, who won his first French Open crown last month, told BBC Sport that he was aiming to win yet more grand slams. “It’s been quite a career and quite a month for me. I don’t play tennis to break records and it doesn’t mean I’m going to stop playing. I hope to come here and play some good tennis in the future,” he said. Roddick led by a set and had four set points in the second set tiebreaker before the Swiss maestro clawed his way back into the match in the space of a few moments. Federer saved three set points with gutsy play, but on the fourth Roddick had only to put away a comfortable backhand volley, only to put it well wide.
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It proved a crucial mistake as Federer quickly won the next two points to seal the breaker 8-6 and level at a set all. With both men dominant on their own service, the third set also went to a tiebreak and this time it was Federer who made the running, claiming three set points. Roddick saved two on his own service, but Federer duly closed out the set on the third. But the American, who had broken Federer in the 12th game to claim the opening set, repeated the feat in the fourth game of the fourth as he forced him to net a volley. Secure on his own service, Roddick had no trouble in holding to claim the set 6-3 and make sure the final went the full distance. Both men were again dominant on their serve in the fifth set and it became a question of who would blink first. Federer had a break point in the fourth game, while Roddick, who had put out home hope Andy Murray, set up two break points at 8-8. But Federer bravely saved them both as the marathon headed towards its thrilling climax. Sampras, who had flown in from California especially for the final, believes Federer is the greatest player in history. “I think you have to give it to him,” said the 14-time grand slam winner.
“The critics say (Rod) Laver, and (Rafael) Nadal’s beaten him a few times in majors. “But he’s won all the majors, he’s won 15 now, he’s going to win a few more. In my book he is (the greatest).”