Roger Federer of Switzerland kisses the trophy after defeating Andy Roddick of U.S. in their men's final match on the Centre Court at Wimbledon, Sunday, July 5, 2009.
Anja Niedringhaus / AP Enlarge
WIMBLEDON, England Roger Federer won his record 15th Grand Slam title Sunday, outlasting Andy Roddick for his sixth Wimbledon championship in a marathon match that went to 16-14 in the fifth set.
Federer served a career-high 50 aces and overcame the resilient American 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 to break the record of major titles he shared with Pete Sampras and enhance his reputation as perhaps the greatest player in history.
The match finally ended after more than four hours when Federer broke for the first time all day, with Roddick hitting an errant forehand.
Federer jumped high in celebration, punched the air and whacked the net with his racket. Roddick tossed his racket to the side and the two men shared a hug at the net. Federer held up the trophy, kissed it and brought it close to his chest.
Watching from the front row of the Royal Box was Sampras, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who flew in from California, his first appearance at the All England Club since playing on this court for the last time in 2002. Also on hand were Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.
"It's not really one of those goals you set as a little boy, but man, it's been quite a career and quite a month," Federer said. "It feels amazing, but this is not why I'm playing tennis to break all sort of different records. But it's definitely one of the greatest ones to have."
Turning to Sampras, Federer said: "Thanks very much for coming. I know it's a long way, but you're a member, man, we like to see you here. It's such a pleasure to play in front of such greats legends."
Roddick said: "Sorry, Pete, I tried to hold him off."
Federer also reclaimed the No. 1 ranking he lost last year to Rafael Nadal, the man who beat him in the epic 2008 final but missed this year's tournament because of knee problems.
Federer is the third player to win six Wimbledon championships Sampras and William Renshaw each won seven.
This was the longest men's Grand Slam final in history at 77 games breaking the previous record of 71 from 1927 in Australia. It was also the longest fifth set in a men's Grand Slam final in history, surpassing the 20 games from 1927 in France.
"It was a crazy match with an unbelievable end and my head's still spinning," Federer said. "But it's an unbelievable moment in my career."