Weather Aids Djokovic To Final

It was a different day and a different player. No wind. And Novak Djokovic was up to the task.

His match with Spain’s David Ferrer was stopped on Saturday with Ferrer up 5-2. There were weather concerns in the Flushing area and the wind was awful.

The match re-started on Saturday at 11 am under perfect conditions and Djokovic was perfect. After Ferrer won the first game to take the first set, 6-2 Djokovic got into high gear. He rolled 6-1 in the second set and won the third 6-4, at one point winning 12 out of 14 points. The fourth was no different with Djokovic closing out Ferrer 6-2.

Ferrer was not despondent in his press conference. He noted that the top four in the game are much better than the next level of which he is a part.He applauded Djokovic’s performance.

Djokovic was thrilled after the match and rated his Monday final with Andy Murray as even.

Murray beat Tomas Berdych on Saturday in bad conditions.

Murray enters the final with a mark of 0-4 in finals. He is now coached by Ivan Lendl who was also 0-4 in finals when he won the French Open in 1984.

Djokovic is one of the best returners ever in tennis. Murray needs to have his serve in top flight form to win.

Djokovic holds an 8-6 lead over Murray, but in their last match-up Murray prevailed at the Olympics.

 

Djokovic On Track To Be Next Great

To some he’s the Djoker, the tennis player with a sense of humor. It doesn’t matter to him if his humor offends, as it’s his way of blowing off steam.

But for many years, Novak Djokovic was the best of the rest. The top player in the world not named Federer or Nadal. Now, though that has changed.

After his complete demolition of No. 5 seed Andy Murray, 6-4 6-2 6-3, to win the 2011 Australian Open, Djokovic vaulted himself up into the land of Federer and Nadal with his second OZ Open win and that makes it twice in four years.

“This was a great match,” Djokovic said. “From the start to the last point, I did what I intended of doing tactically, what I talked with my coach, what I prepared for. Physically I was very fit. I had two days between the semifinals and finals match, which was important at this stage of the tournament.

“Because I was aware of the fact that I am going to yeah, bring it to me. That will have long rallies and I will have a player who doesn’t miss a lot, a very talented player who is one of the best returners in the game.

“And, yeah, you know, I had to step in. That was the key. When I had the chance to step in and try to move him around the court, that’s what I did. Probably the turning point was the last game of the first set where we had some incredible exchange from the baseline, long rallies, and some passing shots that turned the match around.”

For all his talent, the knock on Djokovic was that he suffered from some mental mistakes, which would keep him for vaulting over players like Federer and Nadal. But something seemed to click late last year, which made him mentally tougher and kept his emotions in check.

“Something switched in my head, because I am very emotional on and off the court,” he said. “I show my emotions. This is the way I am. Everybody’s different.

“The things off court were not working for me, you know. It reflected on my game, on my professional tennis career. But then, you know, I settled some things in my head. It was all on me. You know, I had to try to find the best possible solution and try to get back on the right track.

“It’s been a big mental struggle, because I was trying to separate my, of course, professional life from my more private life.

“But, you know, if somebody’s emotional we’re all humans. It’s not possible. If something isn’t working off court, then it’s going to reflect on the court. I managed to solve that problems.

“This is all part of life. Of course, everybody’s facing difficult situations in their lives. To overcome the crisis and to stand up and try to still dedicate yourself to the sport was a big success for me as a person.”

With Roger Federer now on the downside of his career and Rafael Nadal taking up the mantle of the world’s best player, Djokovic is gaining ground in becoming the yin to Nadal’s yang. All great champions have one. Nadal was Federer’s Andre Agassi was Pete Sampras, and so forth. And after straight sets wins over Federer and Murray in the Semifinals and Finals, Djokovic is approaching that level.

Yet, according to the 23 year-old, there is still a gap.

“Still Rafa and Roger are the two best players in the world,” Djokovic said. “No question about that. You can’t compare my success and Murray’s success to their success. They’re the two most dominant players in the game for a while. All the credit to them.

“It’s nice to see that there are some new players in the later stages of Grand Slams fighting for a title. That’s all I can say.”

And it’s nice to see the Serbian win this one. Djokovic will be trying to improve his standing on other surfaces as he never got past the Semifinals at Roland Garros or Wimbledon. Yet, the he seems to be ready for the challenge.

“I don’t want to stop here,” he said. Definitely I want to keep my body healthy, fit, and ready for some more challenges to come. I feel that I have a good game for all the surfaces. I have proven that in the past.”

The Djoker Is Not Foiled by the Great Fish Caper

FLUSHING MEADOWS, NY – Mardy Fish reshaped his body and resculpted his game but couldn’t revise his past history with Novak Djokovic. Fish’s inspired run through this US Open Series came to a halt at the hands of Djokovic, who fried Fish, 6-3, 6-4, 6-1 to advance to his sixth straight major quarterfinal at the US Open.

Worn out from a long summer in which he won back-to-back championships in Newport and Atlanta, producing a career-best 11-match winning streak in the process, and went on to reach the Cincinnati final, a flat Fish lacked both the energy and execution to pose problems for Djokovic.

“I tried to, you know, get to the net, tried to stay more, you know, be a little more aggressive towards the middle part of the match,” Fish said. “I had some chances.  I just didn’t execute, generally.  He played great.  He kicked my butt.  He played great.”

It was a match that was never much in doubt as Djokovic, who took the court with a 5-0 lifetime record against Fish, asserted his authority at the outset.

The third-seeded Serbian swept American wild card James Blake, 6-1, 7-6, 6-3, and wisely took the pro-Fish American crowd completely out of the match in surging out to a 4-1 lead.

Djokovic’s superior speed around the court and his ability to extend Fish in baseline exchanges were key components to the win. The 2007 US Open runner-up remains one of the best hard-court returners in the game and picked Fish apart in longer rallies.

“I was making him play an extra shot and I was using the court very well,” Djokovic said. “This (win) gives me a lot of confidence, definitely. It’s great to raise the level of my performance toward the end of the tournament. It’s been a great couple of years for me in New York so hopefully I can go on.”

Seeking his fourth consecutive trip to the US Open semifinals, Djokovic is a decided favorite against quarterfinal opponent Gael Monfils.

In an all-French fourth round meeting, the 17th-seeded Monfils broke Richard Gasquet mentally in scoring an entertaining 6-4, 7-5, 7-5 victory. Monfils saved a set point in the second set and roared back from a 3-5 deficit in the third set to send the fragile fellow Frenchman packing and become the first French quarterfinalist since Arnaud Clement in 2000.

“I tried to be very tough and hard with him, showing him that I’m the man and I’m the leader,” Monfils said of Gasquet. “So I think I try also to get him a bit in the head, to show him like I will be strong and he might hit a good shot, but it’s okay. For me it’s nothing. I will try to reach every ball and show him…if he come in I will be everywhere.”

The Djokovic-Monfils match pits two of the fastest, most charismatic, flamboyant and sometimes flakiest players in men’s tennis. They are two men who play as if empowered by the belief that no ball is beyond their reach which should create a highly entertaining match.

“Gael is very charismatic and very athletic,” Djokovic said. “He slides a lot and so do I so I guess there’s going to he a lot of sliding between him and me.”

Djokovic is 4-0 lifetime vs. Monfils, including a controversial 7-5, 4-6, 7-6(5), 0-6, 7-5 triumph in the 2005 US Open first round in which some spectators believed Djokovic resorted to gamesmanship in pulling a lengthy injury time out to rest and recover.

Their most recent encounter saw Djokovic outduel Monfils and silence the Parisian crowd in an explosively entertaining, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6(3), victory in the Paris Indoor final last November.

Master showman Monfils, who has entertained the New York City crowd with his electrifying shotmaking skills on the run, his expressiveness and even his impromptu post-match dance moves, is hoping he can work the crowd into a festive frenzy.

“I can get the crowd behind me,” Monfils said. “I know him perfectly. We had like always a tough match. And then, damn I had revenge to take it because he won against me at home in Bercy (Paris). So this time I hope to win.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Elena and Stasur To Meet In the Fourth Round

Elena Dementieva has been to the US Open final before. Samantha Stosur is striving to get there. They will square off for a spot in the US Open quarterfinals in a clash of one of the best hard-court returners in the women’s game, Dementieva, against one of the most reliable servers in Stosur.

The 12th-seeded Dementieva deconstructed Daniela Hantuchova, 7-5, 6-2, to advance to the fourth round for the eighth time in 12 career Flushing Meadows appearances. Dementieva lost to Caroline Wozniacki in the New Haven semifinals and has continued her solid form in Flushing Meadows this week in winning all six sets she’s played.

French Open finalist Stosur smacked seven aces in sweeping Sara Errani, 6-3, 6-2. Since surrendering the first set of her opening-round 3-6, 7-6(2), 6-1 win over Elena Vesnina, Stosur has not dropped a set.

Dementieva has beaten Stosur four times in five meetings, including a 6-7(3), 6-1, 6-3 victory in their last meeting in Toronto last summer. Three of those five matches have spanned the three-set distance.

“We’ve had some good matches in the past.  I’ve beaten her once or twice, and then she’s obviously beaten me, as well,” Stosur said.  “So I think it’s gonna be whoever can, you know, execute the game plan better on the given day. But I know what I’m gonna want to do against her.  If I can do that, I think I have a chance.”

Dementieva has worked diligently to transform her serve from the side-arm, slingshot slice it was when she reached the 2004 US Open final, falling to Svetlana Kuznetsova, and though her serve is not a weapon it has become a much more stable shot.

Stosur is at her best hitting the kick serve to set up her favored forehand and in past matches Dementieva has tried to prevent the muscular Aussie from creating one-two combinations off her serve and forehand by directing her inside-out forehand to Stosur’s weaker backhand wing.

The fact that Stosur will hit the kick on both first and second serves can pose problems for some women, who are unaccustomed to returning off shoulder high balls.

“Samantha, Serena, they both have a very powerful serve, and especially second serve,” Dementieva said. “They have such a good kick.  The women don’t usually have this. It’s always very difficult to play against her.  She puts a lot of pressure on you when she’s serving.  But also, I think she’s very solid on the baseline, and, you know, very experienced player, singles and doubles. She covers the court very well and, you know, can finish the point at the net.  She has a great variety to her game.  It’s never easy to play against her.”

Rich Pagliaro is the editor of TennisNow.com.

Del Potro Ends Cilic’s Run

In his first grand slam quarterfinal, Marin Cilic gave it his best but ultimately it was the higher ranked Juan Martin Del Potro who proved too much. The 20 year-old sixth seeded Argentine continued to ride the wave, rallying from a set and break down to dispatch the No.16 Croat 4-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-1 at Ashe Stadium this afternoon in Flushing.

Del Potro advanced to his first ever U.S. Open semifinal improving on last year’s quarter result. Now, he’ll await the winner between Rafael Nadal and Fernando Gonzalez in tonight’s final quarter.

“It’s so beautiful playing in front of this crowd,” an excited Del Potro said acknowledging the fun atmosphere. “I’m so happy it happened this way.”

In the early going, Cilic dealt better with windy conditions looking intent on pulling another upset. Fresh off his straight set destruction of Andy Murray, he didn’t look out of place. Carrying momentum from that big win, the lanky 20 year-old who will move up in the rankings used the same powerful serve and huge forehand to give the favorite fits.

If one of the game’s best returners couldn’t get a read on it, Del Potro certainly struggled with Cilic’s serve making for a tough opening set that saw the underdog hitting out taking it to one of the tour’s best hardcourt players. In the fifth game, he ran into trouble when after fighting off two break points, the Argentine couldn’t save a third thanks in large part to some great hustle from his opponent who made a running forehand pass to earn a 3-2 lead.

Continuing to get in a high percentage of first serves, Cilic backed it up with big forehands outplaying Del Potro. Though he put up a fight in the 10th game saving one set point due to a nice lob, the Argentine couldn’t get back on serve with a forced miss allowing a pumped up Croat to close the set.

It continued to look dicey early in the second set when following a quick hold, Cilic broke for 2-0. But Del Potro stayed in it by climbing out of a Love-30 hole in the fifth game. Upping the tempo, he took the next four points holding for 2-3.

Apparently, he was just getting warmed up. Indeed, Del Potro’s memory bank was still fresh with ESPN analyst Darren Cahill noting that in their only head-to-head meeting in a fourth round Australian Open match this year, he rallied from a similar deficit winning in four sets.

More focused, Del Potro started to turn the tables hitting with more pace including a big forehand that supplied several of his 27 winners. Two less than his opponent whose signature shot suddenly went off spraying three wild forehands in the sixth game to square the set at three apiece.

With renewed confidence, Del Potro broke again en route to running off the final five games. But before he leveled the match, Cilic made things interesting saving two set points with big backhands, eventually earning a chance of his own to get back on serve. Facing the pressure, Del Potro calmly served an ace up the tee, then took the next pair of points with a service winner drawing him even at a set apiece.

Could Cilic respond? The definitive answer was no as he was broken a third consecutive time in the opening game of the third set. Following an easy hold, Del Potro had taken seven consecutive games before a Cilic love hold finally ended it.

Unfortunately, he couldn’t keep it going dropping serve again two games later falling behind 1-4 due to Del Potro taking the last four points including a Cilic netted forehand.

Following a Cilic hold, the rejuvenant Del Potro easily served the set out at love clinching it on a Cilic backhand into the net. By that point, the difference was apparent with the more polished player dealing with over 20 mph winds better by keeping balls in while his opponent cracked committing 37 unforced errors to Del Potro’s 20.

“I was thinking, every point, do the same, try to put the ball in the court,” Del Potro pointed out after improving to 16-1 since a second round Wimbledon exit to Lleyton Hewitt with the only other defeat coming to the departed Murray who got him at Montreal.

“When you fight that way to the final point, you have many chances and that’s what happened today.”

Though five days separate their birthdays later this month, it’s the older Del Potro who showed his mettle, with his consistency proving too much for Cilic to overcome with the Croat finishing with 29 more miscues (53-24).

“He was not missing,” explained Cilic while also noting the difference in conditions as well as why he was more successful the other day.

“Andy [Murray], he doesn’t have as much power as Del Potro has,” Cilic said. “And it was a little bit hotter that day and the ball was going through the court more and jumping much more.”

With a first Open semi in sight, Del Potro used some great defense to save game point, eventually converting another break for 1-0 in set four. It only worsened for Cilic who was broken a sixth time thanks to more brilliant shotmaking from Del Potro, who this time came up with a perfect running backhand topspin lob delighting the crowd and himself.

Suspense all but ended when he broke for 5-0 making it 16 of the last 18 games before Cilic earned one last break so he wouldn’t get bageled. The only problem was it was his first since early in the second when he was still in control. Now, it had come way too late.

Having solved Cilic’s serve by stepping in on seconds, Del Potro fittingly closed it by making it a perfect eight for eight on break opportunities with a wide Cilic forehand insuring his place into the final four. He took 17 of the last 20 games.

Can he take it one step further and make his first ever slam final?

“I cannot start the match like today,” Del Potro accurately stated. “I was thinking about other things, and the weather was bad. But it was bad for both players. I just need to be in focus in the beginning of the match until the last point and play my game.”

We won’t know till Super Saturday.

Federer makes history, outlasts Roddick in epic

There’s a new grand slam king and his name is Roger Federer. The magnificent 27 year-old Swiss Maestro gave a performance for the ages, serving up 50 aces and topping the century mark in winners (107)- outlasting American Andy Roddick, who played brilliantly but somehow fell just short in another five set Wimbledon final classic.

That’s what it took to become the all-time winningest men’s singles grand slam champion, capturing his record 15th major with previous record holder Pete Sampras looking on.

A year following arguably the greatest match ever in which the five-time champ lost to Rafael Nadal with the final score 9-7 in the final set, it was another one for the ages as Federer and Roddick went toe to toe for nearly four and a half hours before the gutsy 26 year-old No.6 seed cracked first, falling 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14.

Yes. The final set really was 16-14! It featured 30 total games and lasted longer (95 minutes) than Serena Williams’ straight set women’s championship win for her third crown over big sis Venus Williams a day before. Indeed, it was one of those matches where unfortunately, someone had to lose leaving fans heartbroken for Roddick, who really deserved better.

There’s no question that Andy’s overall game has improved leaps and bounds this season under new coach Larry Stefanki, who has finally gotten the talented American to buy into a new strategy. As he proved in a great semifinal win over London local favorite Andy Murray, Roddick continued to play the kind of all court game which made the heavy favorite Federer vulnerable. The game’s best server not only backed it up with vigor keeping one of the better returners off balance despite a 2-18 career head to head record but also mixed up his game slugging it out while also picking his spots, finishing points with rapid success at the net like never seen.

The new Andy also showed off his much improved backhand, steaming plenty down the line with winners even on the run reminding of Nadal. Before this year, you couldn’t even put the two in the same sentence. That’s the kind of true dedication this A-Rod’s put into his fitness, showing that just maybe the second part of his career can be more successful.

Perhaps that gave him added confidence along with some recent close matches where he pushed Roger this season with a couple going three sets. One down in Miami he should’ve won. Of course, you could easily argue the same today as Roddick put American men’s tennis back on the map with a virtuoso performance- the likes of which we have never seen before from the 2003 U.S. Open winner.

He’d always been a dangerous out due to his ridiculous serve and huge forehand. However, today Roddick put it all together demonstrating early on that it could be different this time, even if everyone had Federer running away with his record 15th grand slam and sixth trophy at the All England Club.

Indeed he didn’t flinch in a tightly contested opening set that looked headed to a tiebreak. But after showing plenty of guts escaping four breaking points with huge serving and hitting to hold for 6-5, a focused Roddick cashed in on a shaky game from Federer- converting his only break point by banging a deep backhand which drew a wide reply. A stunning conclusion that gave him the lead. Something he had in their first Wimbledon final in 2004 before blowing a set, break lead in which Roger was able to use a rain delay to recover for a four set repeat.

Much like that match, the two players played a game of chicken as each strongly held serve during an even closer second set which would require a breaker. Early on, it again was Federer who felt the pressure with all-time greats Sampras, Rod Laver and Bjorn Borg all looking on from Centre Court. He misfired a forehand way long handing Roddick an early minibreak which the popular American was only too pleased to take eventually building a 6-2 lead, winning another point from the baseline with that improved backhand earning another miscue.

Suddenly, the crowd sensed what was happening. Would the champion fall behind two sets like last year? Instead, he provided the kind of resiliency one has come to expect, remarkably fighting off four set points before winning the next two, making it six unanswered to take the second.

How did such a houdini act occur? First, Federer pulled off a very tough baseline backhand half volley winner crosscourt to get one mini back for 3-6. Then, he banged two big serves suddenly pulling within 5-6. Perhaps Roddick thought about the moment because he was in great position at the net to claim the set but steered a high backhand volley way wide to level it. All he had to do was put it back in the open court. Instead, momentum swung with Federer then using a strong backhand pass to draw an error before getting a Roddick long backhand to draw even.

Would Andy be able to recover from such a bitter disappointment? He answered quickly by showing nerves of steel holding serve again to start the third. You could tell how badly he wanted that first Wimbledon. If he was going to lose, it would be on his terms. With one of the greatest servers looking on in Sampras, there was Roddick putting on a serving display that would make the seven-time Wimbledon and 14-time slam legend proud as he sat with shades on next to lovely wife Bridgette Wilson.

By now, it became apparent he wasn’t going away hardly allowing Federer a crack. In all their slam matches, Roddick had never been able to hold off his nemesis like this. It was truly something to behold. Despite not finding a way to break- something he grew accustomed to in the epic defeat to Nadal- Roger remained focused going serve for serve to force another breaker.

The quality of the points were terrific with each trying to gain an edge by finding new angles. There was Roddick making stab half volley winners and coming up with ridiculous winners like the curling crosscourt forehands he’d used so efectively against Murray. Predictably, there also was the precision of Federer, who banged his forehand from everywhere. If the Swiss Maestro was to make history, it was needed.

The third breaker this time saw Federer assume early control going up 5-1 but Roddick didn’t budge getting back in it with an inside out forehand winner crosscourt for one mini making it 3-6. After two big serves, suddenly it was just like the second set with it on Roger’s racket. Could he do what Roddick couldn’t? The answer was provided immediately with him kicking one out wide that Andy scrambled to get back but Feds disposed of a short reply with a forehand winner letting out his traditional, “Come on!”

Suddenly, the end seemed in sight. Roddick never cracked continuing to play the same aggressive game that had gotten him closer to beating Federer in a slam final than ever before. He continued to pound his serve making it tough. Finally, Andy found an opening breaking for 3-1 with another brilliant point that got an error, giving a huge emotional pump of the fist.

Federer didn’t go down easily in the next game getting to 15-30 but Roddick served his way out of trouble. Every time he needed one, he delivered. Towards the fourth set’s conclusion, he accidentally slipped on a worn baseline nearly turning something. It was clear that he was hobbled which Federer took advantage of for a quick hold. Looking to break back at 3-5, Federer got the first couple of points including a forehand up the line for Love-30. With the crowd urging Roddick on, he again responded with clutch serving eventually coming back to hold, forcing a fifth set against Federer for the first time in their 21st meeting.

And so, the crowd would get another treat as for the third consecutive year, here was another epic men’s final going the distance. A place where three-time Wimbledon champ Boris Becker had once uttered a memorable quote about it being a test of wills.

That would be put to a true test in what became the longest fifth set in championship history. In the second game, Roddick fought off a break point to hold for one all. That was it for a while as both players ratcheted up the level with remarkable serving, great shotmaking and few errors. It was truly the kind of sporting event any observer could appreciate.

The way Andy was serving, it looked like it would be a tall order for Federer- an above average server in his own right to pull this off. Somehow, he kept dialing up aces going out wide in the ad court time and time again while effectively mixing up the tee on the Deuce side. Never before had the great champion had so many aces, winding up with nearly half the 50 in the fifth. It was 21 or 22.

Roddick did well himself finishing with 27. While that seemed equally shocking because he’s the best server, it’s also due to Federer who gets a lot of balls back even if some didn’t come close. Here was the American hoping it was finally his day with the only two breaks of the match but wondering what he had to do to win. Federer had to be thinking similarly against an opponent he’d handled.

Up 5-4, 6-5, 7-6 and 8-7 in the deciding set, Federer couldn’t put away Roddick who kept coming up with the goods in sudden death. Would the moment finally get to him like last year? After Roddick held for eight apiece, here came his chance nailing a forehand winner for 15-40 setting up double break point. It may as well have been championship point with the kind of zone he was in. But before the blink of an eye, there was Roger delivering a service winner and then kicking one out and striking a daring trademark volley forehand winner inside the baseline. One foul up and it would’ve been enough to lose. Instead, he saved them and dug out of trouble to hold for 9-8.

The battle of wills continued into double digits with many observers wondering how long it would go. You had two players playing at a ridiculously high level with remarkable winner/error ratios (Roddick-74/33, Federer-107/38). It bordered on absurd.

You got the feeling when he struck ace 50 that Feds could still lose. In fact, never before in tennis history had a player won a match with that many aces. Roddick also had experience escaping a similar contest down under six years ago against Younes El Aynaoui, prevailing 21-19 in the fifth with both saving seven match points before the American won. It remains the longest fifth set in grand slam history.

This was unchartered territory for Federer. Would he show any more leaks? That became a resounding no as he dialed up his play nailing more aces and cracking more winners to continue holding, applying the pressure on Roddick.

Finally in the 30th game, Andy cracked. Playing two loose points by misfiring badly, he was two points from losing. Urged on by plenty of supporters despite the momentous occasion, he quickly replied with two consecutive points squaring at 30-all. Just when it looked like he might escape, an errant forehand suddenly setup championship point.

With the crowd moaning, it was finally over when Roddick missed a backhand long sending an extremely overjoyed Federer to jump up and down screaming while pumping his fists. He then ran to the net congratulating a heartbroken Roddick, who somehow didn’t tear up sitting in his chair head down.

It was a memorable scene. One which NBC commentator John McEnroe identified with after losing a similar classic to Borg. Of course, Federer related during a great trophy presentation noting last year’s gutwrenching loss to which Roddick sarcastically replied:

But you won five already.

“Roger is a true champion and he deserves all he gets,” he added while showing class during a trying time with stunning swimsuit model/wife Brooklyn Decker looking on still cheering her man.

I hope to come back one day and get my name up on that winners’ board.

So do we because you deserved better. Keep your head up Andy. After he’d left the court minus talking to McEnroe (could hardly blame him), there were four tennis legends together discussing Federer’s place with an excited Mac getting their thoughts. Federer even took a picture with Sampras, Laver and Borg with his newest trophy. One for the ages.

In my book, Roger is the greatest of all time. He has his critics and people point to Rafael Nadal beating him, but for me he’s the greatest. He is a legend and an icon,” Sampras praised.

He is a great champion and a good guy. He’s very humble, which I like.

Strong words from a man who was dethroned by a much younger Federer in 2001. Too bad it was their only match on grass as it went five. Who’s better? I guess that debate shall rage on. As for becoming the new record holder, Federer was philosophical.

“I didn’t hold the trophy last year. But it feels great after such a crazy match which could have gone on for a few more hours. My head is still spinning.

Getting 15 Grand Slam titles is not something you dream about when you are a little boy, but I’ve had a great career.

It’s been quite a month winning the French Open and Wimbledon back-to-back just like Bjorn Borg did.

I don’t play to break records but it’s great to have them.

About what we’ve come to expect from such a classy champion. So, will Roddick ever win another major? He seemed to think so praising his opponent during the ceremony also adding:

“Andy (Roddick) played an unbelievable tournament. He’s a great guy but there has to be a winner sometimes.”

What wasn’t uttered is that there has to be a loser. Though few could argue that on this special day, there was no loser.

Only winners.