Roger Federer insisted on Sunday that the achievement of winning an historic 15th Grand Slam title has not been diminished by the injury-enforced absence of old rival Rafael Nadal.
Federer won Wimbledon for the sixth time on Sunday with an epic 5-7,7-6 (8/6),7-6 (7/5),3-6,16-14 win over Andy Roddick,a victory which allowed him to pass Pete Sampras’s record of 14 majors. The Swiss star passed that mark with a first victory at the French Open and on Sunday regained the Wimbledon trophy he lost in 2008 to Nadal who was absent this year because of a knee injury.
But Federer believes his record should not be devalued by the absence of the Spaniard who has a 13-7 winning record over the Swiss star. “I don’t think it should. In tennis,that’s the way it goes. Everybody expected Andy Murray to be in the final here. He wasn’t. It’s not the mistake of the one who wins at the end,” said Federer. “Of course,I would have loved to play Rafa again. But,then again,I’ve also played Andy Roddick now in three great Wimbledon finals and I think he deserves credit,too,for playing so well. “You never know how Rafa would have played,but it’s sad he couldn’t even give it a fair chance. “I’m happy at least that I became No. 1 in the world by winning the tournament,not just by him not playing at all,or me playing decent or someone else playing decent and getting to No. 1. That’s not the way it’s supposed to be.”
Federer,whose record-breaking efforts were witnessed by Sampras said it was “crazy” trying to come to terms with winning 15 majors. “It’s staggering that I’ve been able to play so well for so many years now and stay injury-free,” he explained. “There is a certain routine that’s started to happen the last few years since I became No. 1 in the world. I knew what it took to win the big ones. It’s crazy that I’ve been able to win so many in such a short period of time.”
Despite his joy,Federer had sympathy for Roddick,whom he has now defeated in three Wimbledon finals as well as the 2006 US Open title match. The Swiss predicted the 26-year-old American will come back stronger and be a genuine threat when the circuit heads to the United States in the build-up to the final major of the season. “It’s hard. Tennis is cruel sometimes. I went through some five-setters in Grand Slam finals too and ended up losing,” said Federer. “But he did great. He’s not going to let his head hang down. I think he’s going to come back strong and play great in the States. I had to play my very,very best to come through.”