Federer repeats as Wimbledon champion

Tuesday, July 6, 2004

By Stephen Wilson

The Associated Press

WIMBLEDON, England -- Roger Federer is living up to his reputation as the best tennis player of his generation.

With two straight Wimbledon titles, 24 consecutive grass-court victories and a 3-0 record in Grand Slam finals, the 22-year-old Swiss star is the most dominant player since Pete Sampras.

Just listen to Andy Roddick, the heavy-hitting American who lost to Federer in four sets Sunday in the Wimbledon final.

"He definitely has an aura about him, there's no doubt," Roddick said. "He's an unbelievable tennis player, and people know that."

Federer withstood Roddick's 140-mph serves and go-for-broke forehands, winning 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4, to become the first men's champion to successfully defend the title since Sampras won his seventh and final championship in 2000.

Federer's grass-court winning streak is second only to the 41 consecutive matches won by five-time Wimbledon champ Bjorn Borg. And Federer, who won the Australian Open in February, is the fourth man to win his first three Slam finals since the Open era began in 1968.

Borg, Jimmy Connors and Stefan Edberg all lost in their fourth major final.

"I kind of like it -- the 100 percent record in the finals of Grand Slams," he said. "These are the ones that really, really count. Grand Slam titles put you just a step higher."

After being labeled early on as someone unable to win the big ones, Federer has won his last eight tour finals overall.

"I've always told myself that if I get to finals, I just don't want to lose them," he said. "For me, winners stay and losers go. I don't want to be one of them who goes."

A future of many more Slams seems likely for Federer, the first man since Andre Agassi in 1999 to win two majors in a year. He has the versatility, power, touch, shotmaking and unflappable demeanor to dominate for years to come.

For now, he's savoring the moment. When his 12th and final 124-mph ace flew past Roddick on match point, Federer dropped to his knees at the baseline and arched all the way onto his back. He was in tears as he sat on his courtside chair.

"Somehow I feel even more joy this year because I had so much pressure going into this tournament. Now to see my name on the board twice in a row, I get more joy out of this."

If Federer and the 21-year-old Roddick are a cut above the rest, it's clear who has the upper hand: The Swiss star is 6-1 against the American.

Respond to this story

Posting a comment requires free registration: