All Hail Roger Federer

06 Jul 2009 by Hiland in Wimbledon 2009
Roger Federer expression after winning final score against Andy Roddick in final of Wimbledon 2009

Roger Federer expression after winning final score against Andy Roddick in final of Wimbledon 2009

The debate has ended. On Sunday, the greatest tennis player to have ever lived has taken his rightful place at the top if the Grand Slam leaderboard. In a fiercely competitive 5 set battle with the most improved player on the professional tour, Roger Federer captured his 15th Grand Slam Championship with a come-from-behind 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14 triumph over Andy Roddick.

The match was a serving clinic as Federer blasted a personal best 50 aces while Roddick powered 27. Both players had 4 double faults. As well as Federer served, he lost serve twice while Roddick’s only lost service game came in the last game of the match.

The contest between two seasoned tour veterans had all the suspense and dramatic quality that has come to symbolize the game’s oldest and most prestigious tournament. Both players performed with a lack of on-court nervousness and an abundance of focus.

Over their careers, the two finalists have now met 21 times. Roger has won 19 of those matches. This was the first match to go five sets.

Since retaining coach Larry Stefanki near the end of 2008, Roddick has changed his style and shaped up his frame. Since his recent marriage, the pieces have come together for the one-time serve and volley master. Roddick is playing with newfound confidence. Always a flamboyant server, he has now developed weapons to compliment his 140 mph serve.

Roger Federer winner of Wimbledon 2009

Roger Federer winner of Wimbledon 2009

All those weapons were on display from the outset on Sunday. In the 12th game, the six seed sent a message to his opponent and to the crowd by breaking Federer with two down-the-line backhands that could not be handled. Roddick seemed to be working Roger’s backhand. Meanwhile, his re-tooled backhand kept Federer on the baseline and away from the sharp angles the champion likes.

The second set will long be on Roddick’s mind as the one that got away and, in reality, cost him the tournament title. The players held serve throughout reaching the 6-6 tiebreaker. Federer’s record in tiebreakers is 29-4 just slightly better than Roddick’s 26-4 mark. Something had to give.

The old Roddick played quickly and sometimes lacked strategy. The new Roddick took his time between serves and seemed on top of his court management. Through the second set, Andy was landing 77% of his first serves. He was especially effective serving into Roger’s body.

In the tiebreaker, Roddick broke Roger’s first attempt and then held to go up 4-1. He then smoked a backhand down the line to go up 5-1. Roger aced to hold at 5-2. Andy hit a first serve winner to get set point at 6-2. Roger powered a beautiful backhand return to pull within 6-3. He then held his two serves to close to 6-5. Andy missed the first serve and Roger drove a forehand to Roddick’s backhand. Andy tried his down-the-line special but just missed the tape. 6-6. The champion then followed with another backhand winner and held his own serve to capture the set.

That tiebreaker swayed the match and would have crumbled the old Roddick. Roger Federer had changed the mood of the match and seized the momentum. Most of the 15,000 fans expected the challenger to fold, claim his second place trophy and be satisfied with a good fortnight’s work.

The new Andy Roddick put aside the tiebreaker and resumed power serving. Federer continued to build aces and had the air of a winner. He began to lure Roddick to midcourt, where the American was helpless. In the third set tiebreaker, Roger scored the only break he would need in the third point when Roddick missed yet another backhand slice from no man’s land. With the 7-5 tiebreaker in hand, the inevitable appeared on the near horizon.

Roger Federer has not won 15 Grand Slam titles and more than $42 million by allowing opponents back in matches. Roger Federer closes matches. In fact, there is no more efficient closer in the game.

But, Roddick cashed another break with Roger serving at 1-2 in the fourth. Federer overcame two break points at 15-40 to pull to deuce but this time Andy lured Roger into mid court and passed him down the line before executing a perfect half court pickup. That was the only break Roddick would need to square the match at two sets apiece.

Roddick had lost two sets without losing his serve. After four sets, the players had been on the court for three hours. Set five would take more than 90 minutes. Fans began to wonder how long any player could be on the court with Roger Federer and not lose their serve.

Gradually, Roger began to strike first on Roddick’s serve. Finally at 14-15, he won the first two points and the pressure finally showed. When Andy missed the last forehand, the Champion had attained his goal and logged his major accomplishment.

Both players were complimentary in closing remarks. The twosome will meet again and Roddick has reason for confidence heading into the U.S. Open, where friendly crowds will be vocal in his support. He will have a little more than a month to forget the devastating second set tiebreaker.

In the meantime, accolades to a deserving champion. He repelled everything that all comers threw at him. The game now has a new Grand Slam record holder and a wonderful ambassador of the game that loves him.

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3 Comments »

  • All Hail Roger Federer …

    Both players performed with a lack of on-court nervousness and an abundance of focus….

    Trackback by newsmarking.com — July 6, 2009 @ 7:55 am

  • Wimbledon 2009 – What a tournment, shame like every year it always goes too quickly. Murphys law that it barely rained to use the new roof… mind you us in London our pretty happy about that. just read a really good blog by Russell Fuller of the BBC regarding the tournement. Very interesting to hear it from a commentators prospective.

    Comment by Matt Maxwell — July 8, 2009 @ 12:32 pm

  • I liked the article about “All Hail Roger Federer.”

    Comment by Basil Valentine — October 17, 2010 @ 11:01 am

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