Federer getting big support in greatest-ever debate
The now greatest player ever was bruised, but he wasn't beaten yet.
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After sustaining a barrage of aces, groundstroke winners and crisp volleys, Roger Federer faced two break points at 8-8 in the fifth set against American Andy Roddick, who was surely playing the Grand Slam match of his life in Sunday's Wimbledon final.
But Federer did not want to walk away from the final like he did last year, his face splattered with tears after a wrenching 9-7 loss in the fifth set to Rafael Nadal. So this time, he responded, cracking a wicked service winner, launching another service bullet and then taking Roddick's next return and ripping a swing volley winner.
He eventually held to 9-8 and then the clock began to tick loudly on the American's tired legs. He hadn't been broken in the match to that point and, even after blowing the second set tiebreaker, looked like the better and more consistent player on the day.
But that was Federer across the net from him, the same man who for good reason owned an 18-2 record against him coming into the match, who had beaten him at seven previous majors, including three times at Wimbledon.
The Swiss kept serving the daylight out of London and Roddick, and Roddick sensed that Federer was growing a bit more confident returning too.
"He was having trouble picking up my serve today for the first time ever," Roddick said. "He just stayed the course. You didn't even get a sense that he was even really frustrated by it. ... He gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but not a lot of the time is how many matches he kind of digs deep and toughs out."
Roddick later got out of a hole to even the longest men's final (in terms of total games) at 14-14 with two searing service winners. He had held serve from behind facing match games on 10 straight occasions. Even the toughest of men weaken at the thought of it.