Federer Squeaks Past Roddick; Wins 6th Wimbledon - Record 15th Grand Slam Title
July 5, 2009 -- After a Grand Slam record 30 games in the fifth set, a record 50 aces from Roger Federer, and one deciding break point, Roger Federer won the Men's Singles Championship and a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title staking his claim for being the greatest player of all time.
Mr. Federer's 15 titles surpasses Pete Sampras's record 14 majors that Federer tied when he won in Roland Garros just a few weeks ago. Federer also now becomes one of four players who have won The French Open and The Championships Wimbledon back-to-back. And, finally, Mr. Federer will regain his number one ranking on Monday -- an added perk to the most decorated tennis legend to date.
"It's staggering, you know, that I've been able to play so well for so many years now and stay injury free," Federer said, contemplating his 15th major title. "It's crazy that I've been able to win so many in such a short period of time, I think."
Roger Federer's love for the game of tennis, for competition, for history and his place in it, and for life as the broadest context of family and friends came together today for him by winning 57 76 (6) 76 (5) 36 1614. His first Grand Slam win was Wimbledon and now his record-setting 15th is Wimbledon.
"I broke the record here in some ways because this is always the tournament that's meant the most to me because of what we spoke about with my heroes and idols being so successful here," Roger said. "So it definitely feels like it's come full circle for me, starting it here and ending it here."
A few of the tennis legends on hand to watch the championship match between Mr. Roddick and Mr. Federer were Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, "Manolo" Sanchez, and Pete Sampras.
"I know how much the record meant to him [Pete] and he knows how much the record means to me," Roger began. "In a way I still feel we share it, just because he was such a wonderful champion. He still has one up against me here at Wimbledon."
Andy Roddick was broken once in the entire five sets -- on championship point -- making Federer's victory as difficult as possible and as sweet as candy. Until that championship point presented itself, Federer had squandered six other break points.
Mr. Roddick served as near to perfect as humanly possible and lost, which is a clear indication of the quality of the match and the struggle to beat Federer on any surface especially when he doesn't give his opponent many looks at second serves.
"I took some satisfaction in December and November when we started to move forward," Andy said, about his satisfaction from today's match. "It was to give yourself an opportunity to win tournaments like this. I feel like, you know, I did give myself that opportunity today. It didn't work out, but I definitely gave myself a look."
The first set established Roddick as a sincere contender for this men's singles title. His backhand, foot-speed, and confidence and composure under pressure revealed themselves the way a magician opens a box and a lovely assistant walks on stage -- never seen before as such a colorful spectacle.
Roddick wielded his backhand as a well-honed weapon, thwarting Federer's attempts to break the American. Everyone on the men's tour knew Roddick's backhand was his weakness, but no more. He is just as polished off both wings.
Roddick ran and danced around Centre Court, too, showing finesse and a court sense not shared by many. He played strategic grass tennis and refused to bludgeon the ball or go for broke on most points. He served and volleyed. He chipped and charged. He mixed up his lethal serves. This was not the Andy Roddick who played Roger Federer in 2005, his last appearance in a Wimbledon final.
"It was difficult because I thought Andy played great," Roger said. "I know how it is to play a fifth set in the final at Wimbledon. It was so different to what I experienced the last few years with Rafa where it was a baseline game. Today, it was a serve and return game, which is more classical for grass. I couldn't break Andy till the very, very end. So satisfaction is maybe bigger this time around because I couldn't control the match at all."
At 5-games all in the first set, Roddick went down 0/30. He had to save four break points to go up 6/5. In the next game he took his only chance so far in the match at 30/40 and won the set, the eleventh game proving crucial to winning the set.
In the second set tiebreak, Mr. Federer stood at the brink of losing another set. Roddick had wracked up six points. Not one person watching thought Federer could win the set, except Federer. After Roddick hit a wild-looking backhand volley wide, he committed three unforced errors and Roger went through the eye of the needle.
"At that point [after second set], like everything else, there's two options: you lay down or you keep going. The second option sounded better to me," Roddick said.
Federer tried to break Roddick time and time again, but Roddick cracked aces and unreturnable serves when he most needed them. He also caught the lines, as if he were Roger himself.
Speaking of role reversals, Roger made a down-the-line running forehand in the third that sneaked past Andy and curved in for a winner a la the missing Rafael Nadal. Seems like every great tennis player made an appearance of sorts on Centre Court today.
Federer's ground game paled in comparison to Roddick's. The Swiss was handcuffed at least half the time because Roddick placed the ball so well and because of bad bounces. Federer couldn't seem to relax enough to let his strokes speak their usual brilliance. And Roddick continued to delight in anything Roger sent his way.
As the sun changed its angle and the court divided into dark and light sides, Roger Federer seemed to use nature as a tactical tool. He played the ball down the middle of the court, as Roddick stood facing the sun. With the ball coming directly at him, depth perception must have been difficult. It was then that Roddick miss hit the last ball of the championships and Federer jumped for joy.
Earlier Columns from this Event:
July 4, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Serena Superior; Wins Wimbledon and 11th Grand Slam Title
July 3, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: The Other Andy Wins; Federer into Seventh Straight Wimbledon Final
July 2, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Williams's Conquer Center Court, Again
July 1, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Roddick to Play Murray in Semifinals; Federer to Play Haas
June 30, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Oh Those Bad Bounces
June 29, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: The Wise and Experienced - Roof or No Roof
June 28, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Sunday... A Day of Rest
June 27, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Qualifier Oudin Ousts J. J., Lisicki Downs Kuznetsova
June 26, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: As The Draw Turns
June 25, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Hewitt Takes Charge as Murray Rolls
June 24, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Young and Old Compete at Wimbledon
June 23, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Sunny Wimbledon
June 22, 2009 Wimbledon Coverage: Wimbledon... The Perfect Grand Slam