A big congrats to Roger Federer who earlier today at the age of 30 won his seventh career Wimbledon title and 17th overall Grand Slam. In one of his finest performances, Federer vanquished the hopes of Britain defeating Andy Murray in a four set final.
Federer moves back to the No. 1 ranking tomorrow where he’ll tie Pete Sampras at 286 weeks. Federer becomes the oldest champion at Wimbledon since Arthur Ashe, 31, won in 1975. The Swiss has won eight titles since the US Open, four more than his nearest rival. And he’s got a tour-high five this season with his best events still to come.
Federer will enjoy a week or so of rest before returning to Wimbledon for the London Olympics.
Afterward an elated Federer met the press.
Q. A seventh. Got to feel unbelievable. But how different does it feel because of the circumstances around here? Very unusual today.
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I think any Grand Slam final, particularly here at Wimbledon, are unusual. You never quite get used to it. Today was unique because of playing Andy. Obviously, you know, being able to play or finish a match under the roof, I don’t think that’s ever been done before here for a final. So that’s been different, as well. And nice, of course.
I know the occasion and how big it was for Andy and myself. I’m happy I got a victory today, but obviously it was a very, very special ‑‑ I mean, yeah, we’ll talk more about it I guess as questions will come.
Q. You have a good memories in Wimbledon, seven titles. Do you feel destiny in Wimbledon?
ROGER FEDERER: Look, yeah, I mean, I guess to some degree. You know, of course I feel better here for some reason. I don’t know why. But it’s very unique and special in many ways, this tournament.
From the get‑go I really felt sort of I’m supposed to play well here, I guess. Over the years I’ve been able to keep up, you know, a great run. Obviously, last couple of years maybe slightly disappointing, but, again, I thought Berdych and Jo both played unbelievable the last couple years against me.
This year I guess I decided in the bigger matches to take it more to my opponent instead of waiting a bit more for the mistakes. Yeah, this is I guess how you want to win Wimbledon, is by going after your shots, believing you can do it, and that’s what I was able to do today.
Q. Can you rate this win among all your Grand Slams?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, honestly this one hasn’t quite sunk in yet for some reason. I guess I was trying to be so focused in the moment itself that when it all happened I was just so happy, you know, that it was all over and that the pressure was, you know, gone basically.
I guess that came due to the tough loss I had here last year. US Open, as well. A couple tough, you know, moments for me the last couple years, you know, I guess. So I really almost didn’t try to picture myself with the trophy or try to think too far ahead really.
So now even right now, I mean, there was so much on the line, so I didn’t try to think of the world No. 1 ranking or the seventh or the seventeenth. So I think that’s going to actually, for a change, take much longer to sort of, you know, understand what I was able to achieve today.
Yeah, it was crazy how it all happened under the circumstances. Yeah, I played terrific.
Q. How hard was it to listen to the same questions done in different ways about will you win a Grand Slam again?
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it didn’t happen the day after I won Australia. Right then things were great. Like they will be tomorrow. Then the day after they are going to go, When is he going to retire, again?
It hasn’t always been like this, the pressers. I think they’ve been somewhat easier for me since I was able to win here three years ago and since I was able to win in Paris. Things are much more easy now in the press room. They’re at peace, even though I understand everyone wants to be the first to have mentioned it or said it first that, Okay, this is the decline.
I also said that I think this is just a temporary thing. That maybe down the stretch, like with Agassi I guess in some ways, you’ll be happy that I’m still playing a few years from now. So I see it more as a steppingstone, a period I have to go through as well. That I’m, you know, going to win 90% of my matches throughout the year, it’s impossible every single year. So you’re always going to go through ups and downs.
But I knew how close I was for the last few years, and some people didn’t quite see that maybe out of different reasons. But I knew and I think the belief got me to victory today, and almost two other ones in the last couple years, as well.
Q. Andy said you were one of the greatest athletes of all time, rating you alongside Pele. Do you consider yourself that way?
ROGER FEDERER: Anyway it’s opinions of people, you know. It’s nice, obviously, having had I’d say a positive effect on the game of tennis in the first place, that I was able to live a dream in the first place, I guess, here in tennis.
And then to represent tennis, you know, across sports has been nice, you know. Not that I feel like obliged to do all the right things or whatever, but it’s nice to be compared to other sporting greats.
If I can help the game of tennis with the image or with, you know, making it more popular, that’s enough for me really. I want to leave the game better off than when I came into this great game, which was already unbelievable with the great rivalries we had: Becker‑Edberg, Courier and Agassi and Sampras. You name it, there were so many other great ones I must have forgotten.
So I think that, for me, is most important, you know. And then the other sports, I mean, that’s so different anyway that you can’t compare.
But I drew a lot of inspirations from other great athletes in other sports. I think like Pete and Edberg and Becker, I don’t know, maybe Jordan, Tiger Woods, you name it, Valentino Rossi. They inspire me to keep on pushing further.
You know, not just being happy with world No. 1 or being happy with a Grand Slam title, but maybe to reach for more. Then obviously I have to drive myself. But you sometimes do need to see someone else do it for a long time so that you feel it is actually possible.
Q. This title and No. 1 didn’t happen in two weeks. It’s a process. Is there a point you can pinpoint when the run up to this actually began?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, wonder when. Maybe French Open last year potentially. I played an amazing French Open last year. I was very close against Rafa in the finals. And I think did play actually very well here, as well, you know, against Jo. Things just didn’t turn out well for me here.
I guess it had a little effect on me through Toronto and Cincinnati potentially. But then again, I did play great as well at the US Open. Again, unlucky; Djokovic played well, whatever you want to call it. But things were tough for me there.
So I think it was a time where I just had to believe that things were going to turn around for me, and not just naturally, but work at something. You know, this is where I did take a long break off. Mean, I did play Davis Cup after the US Open in Australia. You know, just took a break.
Because I played a lot of tennis, good tennis, but I wanted to win titles, not just lose in quarters and semis. I think when I came back to Basel, which was a home tournament, things obviously changed for me to winning ways again, I would believe.
Then the confidence rose as I went to Paris and also to London. I think this is when I realized a lot is possible in 2012.
Q. You mentioned Tiger Woods a moment ago. He’s obviously also trying to regain the major tournament magic which you had today again. He tweeted that we saw why you’re the greatest. What are your thoughts on receiving that message from him?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, I didn’t need to get it through Twitter, I got one from himself. He was very pumped up these last couple days, you know, for me. He was very supportive.
Yeah, it’s nice, you know, when other greats like this do, you know, believe in me. They push me further, even in the rain delay basically when they cheer you on. You know, so it was big.
Yeah, I mean, I wish him the best as well. He knows that. Obviously with all these Facebook and Twitters and all this it’s much more public now.
But it feels great, you know, to receive so much support from such great athletes.
Q. What did he say to you specifically?
ROGER FEDERER: Just happy, you know. Whatever. You can make it up.
Q. What concessions, if any, have you had to make to age in the last couple years? Schedule? Training?
ROGER FEDERER: Uhm, well, people forget sometimes I do have twin girls, you know. That has had a massive impact on my life. My game, I think it’s helped my game more than anything because I think I’m playing some of the best tennis of my life right now, and since a long time now.
But just to be able to juggle everything together has been, you know, a challenge. And I think you learn from mistakes. You try to make it work for everyone involved. Hasn’t always been easy, you know. I admit that.
But, of course, the victory today is a dream come true today for me and my family, you know, seeing them there. Yeah, it’s big.
Q. Did you change your tactics at all after the rain delay?
ROGER FEDERER: Yeah, I mean, I tried to play more aggressive. Obviously there was a lot of wind involved as well in the first couple of sets. There was sort of a downwind from the right‑hand side of the umpire’s chair, which maybe makes you play more with the elements and less with tactics at times.
And when the wind is gone you get more back into tactics you know, what you can do, what you can’t do.
Yeah, I tried to take it more to Andy, and I was able to do that. I think, yeah, I went to maybe fetch victory more than he did potentially. I don’t know, but I’m happy that closing the roof maybe helped me today, because I wasn’t sure if that was going to help me or not.
Q. I imagine when you were 22 that you felt like a better tennis player than you were at 18. I’m curious, how you feel about that now? Do you feel like you are a better tennis player now than you were than five years ago?
ROGER FEDERER: I hope so. God, I’ve practiced so much that I ‑‑ you don’t want to be worse five years later, you know. (Laughter.)
I feel I have, you know, a great game today. But then again, maybe there were times I had such incredible confidence that you do pull triggers and you pull off shots that maybe today I don’t because I maybe do play a bit more the percentages.
I know how hard it is, you know, to pull off those great shots and I know how easy it is to miss, so I’m more aware of these things.
But I’m so happy I’m at the age I am right now, because I had such a great run and I know there’s still more possible. You know, to enjoy it right now, it’s very different than when I was 20 or 25. I’m at a much more stable place in my life. Yeah, I wouldn’t want anything to change. So this is very, very special right now.
Q. Clearly very emotional for him. You must have felt for him.
ROGER FEDERER: For Andy?
ROGER FEDERER: Yes. I mean, are you kidding me? Yeah, I mean, I told him it’s supposed to be easier, this part, than playing the match. It’s hard. I mean, I’ve been there, as well. I think he’s done so, so well, to be quite honest. Because I see him every day. I see him, what he goes through on a daily basis on tour.
At Wimbledon I think he handle is it so perfectly, to be quite honest. I think he’s giving himself so many looks at big titles. Grand Slams I think is what you guys are focusing on the most. I really do believe deep down in me he will win Grand Slams, not just one. I do wish him all the best. This is genuine. He works extremely hard. He’s as professional as you can be.
Things just didn’t quite turn out for him in the finals that he hoped for. But today I’m sure he got another step closer to a Grand Slam title for him. I really do believe and hope for him that he’s going to win one soon.
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