WIMBLEDON MEN'S FINAL
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takes hard road to history
Roger Federer takes hard road to history
Roger Federer reacts to a point won against Andy Roddick at Wimbledon, July 5, 2009.
FEDERER'S SMASH HITS
Grand Slam titles for Roger Federer, a record
Games in yesterday's final, a Grand Slam tournament final record
Games in final set, a Wimbledon final record
Aces by Roger Federer yesterday, a career high
Minutes played by Federer in last two men's finals
Games, the longest Grand Slam final ever
Andy Roddick's record vs. Federer, 0-8 in majors
'NOW HE'S AN ICON'
Quotes about Roger Federer winning his record 15th Grand Slam title:
"It's staggering that I've been able to play so well for so many years now and stay injury
– Roger Federer
"In a way, I still feel like we share it, just because he was such a wonderful champion."
– Federer, on Pete Sampras
"Sorry, Pete, I tried to hold him off."
– Andy Roddick to Sampras
"He's got 15 now. He could get 17, 18 when it's all done. He's a stud."
– Pete Sampras
"The guy, he's a legend. Now he's an icon. He's got 15 majors. That's a lot of majors."
"It's great that tennis has someone like Roger. We always look at Roger, he and Tiger Woods
are good friends, fighting to see who can have the best number of Grand Slams in golf and
– Rod Laver
"The guy hit (50) aces. That's just too good, and he deserved to win."
– Larry Stefanki, Roddick's coach
– Associated Press
No saying who's best ever: Rod Laver
He dominated tennis in the era of small wooden racquets, when it took three days to travel from England to
Australia and players had to scurry around between points picking up stray balls themselves because the concept
of ball boys didn't exist.
Swiss star outlasts gritty Andy Roddick in epic, five-set battle to capture
record 15th Grand Slam crown
Jul 06, 2009 04:30 AM
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There was no shortcut or detour available for Roger Federer. He had to break the serve – and
the will – of one of the most fearsome servers ever to play the sport, Andy Roddick of the
There was no other way to blaze a new trail in tennis history.
This was the fifth set in the Wimbledon men's final, you see. Like a Stanley Cup overtime
game that can only end with a goal and not a shootout, the final set yesterday, once extended
beyond regulation, had to be won by one man breaking the serve of the other. No tiebreaks
Beneath puffy white clouds and magnificent sunshine that grudgingly gave way to late
afternoon shadows, both men refused to crack. At six games apiece, they rolled on. At 13-12
in the fifth, the two had set the record for the most games in a set of a Wimbledon final.
On and on it went. The competition was so laden with tension it even got to some of the folks
watching the match on the giant screen on nearby Henman Hill/Mount Murray. A scuffle, not
quite a fight, broke out, enough for the bobbies to intercede.
This was history delayed, as Federer, playing with gold accents on his tennis shoes, shorts,
shirt and headband, hoped to win the tournament and his 15th Grand Slam event, shattering
the record of former American ace Pete Sampras.
Sampras had flown across the Atlantic just to see the match, arriving three games into the
final in a grey suit, lavender shirt and matching tie and taking a seat in the bottom right
corner of the Royal Box beside fellow legends Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg.
Roddick, a winner only twice in 20 previous matches against Federer, just wouldn't go away
and simply be a footnote for Federer's legacy, even after choking away four glorious set points
in the second set that would have given him a two-sets-to-none cushion.
"Sure, I felt the disappointment at that point. We're humans, not cyborgs," said Roddick. "But
I had two options, lay down or keep going. The second option sounded better to me."
Roddick raced from corner to corner, tumbled to the grass, dove for balls and doggedly
pounded away at the Swiss with his heavy serve.
"He was having trouble picking up my serve for maybe the first time ever," said Roddick. "But
he didn't ever give me a sense he was frustrated. He just stayed the course."
In the 25th game of the fifth set, Federer hit his 100th winner, an extraordinary figure. Yet he
still did not have victory. Some wondered if Henry Kissinger, a famous face in the crowd
yesterday, could be persuaded to mediate the ferocious dispute on the lawn.
Finally, in the 30th game, with Roddick lurching around the court like a spent prizefighter, he
chopped a low ball high beyond the far baseline, and Federer had the service break, and
victory, and his precious record.
Federer, ever the gentleman, produced laughter in his press conference afterwards by
mentioning he'd actually said hello to Sampras when he arrived.
"That's unusual, I know, but I didn't want to be rude," said Federer after his 5-7, 7-6, 7-6,
3-6, 16-14 victory. "I know how much the record meant to him. He knows what it means to
me. I feel like we still share it."
Sampras held the record for only seven years, a remarkably short duration for Federer to get
his first Grand Slam victory at Wimbledon in '03 and his 15th yesterday.
"It's crazy I've been able to win so many in such a short period of time," said Federer.
Even golf's Tiger Woods now has one fewer major championships than the fabulous Federer,
indisputably the greatest tennis player ever.
"He is in my books," said Sampras.
How high can Federer go? He's only 27 years old, and three victories in the past four Grand
Slam events suggest he isn't slowing down. Certainly, 20 Slam triumphs seems achievable.
Yesterday's match drew some comparisons to last year's magnificent final between Federer
and Rafael Nadal, but didn't contain quite the quality, the extended rallies, the rain delays or
the drama of having the muscled Majorcan dethrone the champion as the last slivers of light
Yes, the fifth set yesterday was taut and agonizingly long at 95 minutes. But by that point, the
match had essentially turned into a serving contest, not necessarily the most pleasing style of
Afterwards, wearing a T-shirt with the slogan "There is no finish line. Far from done," Federer
recalled how he was inspired to play the sport by watching one of three Wimbledon finals
between Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg two decades ago.
"Sitting at home in the living room, watching them play, thinking hopefully one day I could be
like them," he said. "That's where idols and inspirations are good. They push you forward."
Something surely kept pushing him forward yesterday. History, it seems.