Sunday, July 05, 2009

Federer outlasts Roddick at Wimbledon for 15th Slam

WIMBLEDON, England, July 5 -- It was a day for making history.

Roger Federer, who was reduced to tears after losing last year's Wimbledon final, exulted on the same patch of Centre Court Sunday after winning his 15th Grand Slam title -- one that breaks his tie with Pete Sampras for the most career majors.

Federer prevailed in the longest Grand Slam final in men's history, turning back a determined challenge by American Andy Roddick, 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14.

With the victory, which took 4 hours 18 minutes, Federer claimed his sixth Wimbledon title and reclaimed the No. 1 ranking he lost to Spain's Rafael Nadal last August.

Sampras, who won seven Wimbledon titles before retiring in 2002, was among the former champions looking on from the front row of the Royal Box, with Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg sitting just to his left. The trio boast 16 Wimbledon singles titles among them, and they rose in unison to pay tribute to Federer's sixth.

Federer hailed a teary-eyed Roddick as "an unbelievable guy" and unbelievable player during his post-match remarks and urged him not to lose faith he would win Wimbledon one day.

"Today, I was on the lucky side," said Federer, who finished with 107 winners, 50 aces yet not once managed to break Roddick's serve.

Roddick bore his disappointment admirably, telling the capacity crowd of 15,000 who honored him with a standing ovation, "I'm one of the lucky few that gets cheered for."

After congratulating Federer on a well-deserved title, Roddick turned to the Royal Box and apologized to Sampras, half in jest, for not being able to keep the Swiss from overtaking his career mark. "I tried to hold him off," Roddick said.

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