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One of the keys to Roger Federer's unique longevity is his ability to “suck up” the breakthrough season when he won his first Wimbledon title.
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Bedraggled fans keep the faith. LTA hopes for feel-good factor boost. It was all going so well - then Federer struck. Why refuse to support the Brit?

French Open Roger Federer snuffs out David Goffin's exuberance | Sport | The Guardian

We were all in this together. The stage was beautifully set for a British catharsis. You had to rub your eyes to believe a British player was actually standing on the opposite side of the net to Federer, whose athletic grace is the finest sight in modern sport. The land that staged this struggle is in a curious state, beset by recession, banking scandals, the Leveson inquiry, national frictions and a deepening obsession with celebrity.

All were represented here. Rupert Murdoch sat just outside lobbying distance from David Cameron, who was perched a couple of rows in front of David and Victoria Beckham, who were along from Alex Salmond, the Scottish National Party leader who would like to send Murray to Wimbledon as a foreign player: So inside Centre Court we had the perfect cross-section of the nation, minus a raucous football or Barmy Army crowd.

Also in England, the John Terry race trial starts in London today. Inside, there was a certain purity to the battle between one man striving for the top Murray and another trying to stay there at a time when Nadal and Djokovic have tried to steal the show.

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Sixteen grand slam titles played zero grand slam titles here. Murray won the first set but was unable to take his chances in the second. Symbolically, that one ended with the most subtle of Federer drop shots. In this form he could hit a butterfly across the net and not harm it. He won much of the outdoor match but lost the indoor one, when Federer developed a lethal rhythm.

Federer Wins On Blue Clay In 2012 Madrid Classic Moment

The defining game was a minute marathon in the third set, in which Murray fought through six break points to save his service game but finally succumbed. In those moments you could feel him drifting back towards the boyish, bedraggled state we know so well. But it was not the start of an implosion. He lost the third but redoubled his efforts in the fourth. The break against him came from another slice of Federer sorcery: Murray endured it well.

He spread hope around the place. Playing this well, he would win a grand slam title in most eras. Yet the old conundrum remains. It is almost inconceivable that he will make it through to a final without having to face one of the three amigos: Federer, Djokovic or Nadal. Say Federer retires in two or three years.

Murray might be 28 by then. He is already tied with his coach, Ivan Lendl, for the record of unsuccessful grand slam final appearances four , though Lendl won eight in the end. No, it was not like that at all.

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But Federer rallied against the No. A year after he lost to France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the semifinals, Federer finished with a flourish. He's like a rock. If your level is a little bit low he takes the opportunity. Every point against him, you cannot make a mistake. Four matches later, he would bag it. They split the first two sets, but in the sixth game of the third, Federer made a critical breakthrough.

It took 10 deuces and 19 points, but Federer broke Murray with a terrific forehand winner that converted his sixth break-point opportunity. The victory pushed his record Grand Slam singles title total to 17, a number Federer is still on three years later. It was his seventh Wimbledon title. This one comes at the right time in my life. It equals me with Pete Sampras, who's my idol. It just feels amazing.

Roger Federer’s “No Pain, No Gain” Motto Leads to Davis Cup, Grand Slam Glory

This was the last time Federer held the upper hand against Rafa at Wimbledon, and it took five sets to do it -- a first in Federer's five-year reign at Wimbledon. Federer became only the second man in the previous century to win five straight Wimbledon titles.

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  7. The first, Bjorn Borg, watched from the Royal Box. Borg, who won from , congratulated Federer afterward.

    US Open 2012: Roger Federer struggles to explain sudden loss of form after defeat by Tomas Berdych

    This was where it all began, the first of Federer's record 17 Grand Slam singles titles. His Aussie opponent was ranked No. The 6-foot-5, pound Philippoussis forced Federer to two tiebreakers but never managed to seriously threaten the Swiss.

    Ten years later, Federer acknowledged, "Just one of the greatest moments in my life as a tennis player, yeah. A year after he left Wimbledon gutted, Federer prevailed in an all-time classic, beating Roddick in five sets. Federer stroked a career-record 50 aces and needed a game fifth set to lock it down. It was the 15th Grand Slam singles title for the Swiss champion, moving him ahead of Pete Sampras on the all-time list. This was a game-changer. Federer, then a year-old prodigy, ended Sampras' match winning streak at the All England Club and suddenly it felt like a new era.

    Sampras, a seven-time champion looking for his fifth consecutive title, suffered his earliest exit in a decade. Like me, he doesn't get too emotional and is a great athlete. It was, by a broad consensus, one of the greatest tennis matches ever played. Federer and Nadal battled for 4 hours, 48 minutes, amid rain, wind and darkness. After losing the first two sets, Federer came back to win a pair of tiebreakers before falling in extra time. Federer, thus, failed to win his sixth straight Wimbledon title -- something no man had done since His match winning streak at the All England Club and 65 straight on grass came to an end.

    Nadal became the first man to win both Roland Garros and Wimbledon since Borg in Federer added, "Probably my hardest loss, by far. To help make this website better, to improve and personalize your experience and for advertising purposes, are you happy to accept cookies and other technologies?