This was just one of the daunting statistics that helped stack the odds in the Swiss maestro’s favour in the build up to Sunday’s showdown. But a revitalised Andy Roddick wasn’t perturbed on Centre Court as he fought to the death in an enticing five set encounter.
In fact it was Roddick who stole the opening set from Federer when he pounced on a rare break point on Federer’s serve at 6-5. The number two seed soon fought back however, taking the next set two sets in tie breaks.
Federer was on the cusp of history – just one set between him an a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam – but the resilient American took the initiative and snatched the fourth set 6-3.
The final set – with no tie break of course – was a tense affair. Both players held their serves firmly, with break points a rarity as the games clocked up. Amazingly, the fifth set lasted a phenomenal one hour and 35 minutes.
And it was Federer who took his chance when presented with the first championship point from deuce on Roddick’s serve. It was the first time that Federer had managed to break the Roddick serve in the entire match.
After the heartbreak of last year’s epic final against Rafael Nadal, one could sense the enormous significance of regaining the title he so brutally lost 12 months ago.
Speaking after the endless 5-7 7-6 (8-6) 7-6 (7-5) 3-6 16-14 encounter, he told BBC Sport: “It feels great. It was a crazy match with an unbelievable end and my head’s still spinning.”
For Andy Roddick, heartbreak once again. Another Wimbledon final slips away; a third defeat at the hands of Federer on Centre Court. But he must take comfort in the fact that not only has he given Federer a run for his money on his favourite stage, he has shown a vast improvement in his game.
We watched as he thoroughly outplayed Andy Murray on Friday and dismissed the resurgent Lleyton Hewitt days before. The number six seed demonstrated great skill in his ability to mix his game up with a selection of deft drop shots and volleys.
Coached by former player Larry Stefanki, the 26-year-old will be looking to bounce back immediately and mount a challenge for the final Grand Slam of the season at the US Open which starts at the end of August.
A devastated Roddick appeared in the Wimbledon media room after the match and when asked if he can take heart from today’s loss that he will win another Grand Slam title, he simply replied, “No, not really.”
“It’s tough to digest it all and come in here to give you guys an insight so soon afterwards,” he continued. “I’ll just keep going. There’s not another option.”
So Federer has cemented his place in history on Centre Court today. The first player to ever win 15 Grand Slams, beating Pete Sampras’ record. A phenomenal achievement for the 27-year-old and one that sees him leapfrog the injury-ridden Nadal back to number one in the world.
He now holds three of the four Grand Slams as he looks to retain his title in New York and win a sixth consecutive US Open. Is Federer the greatest to ever play the game? It’s a big question, but he now certainly has the numbers on his side.
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