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The joy of six puts Federer back on top of the world

Ace lands a record 15th Grand Slam after edging Roddick in an epic final<br /><br />ROGER FEDERER became the greatest player in Grand Slam history after coming through a record-breaking final with Andy Roddick on Wimbledon&rsquo;s Centre Court.<br /><br />The Swiss ace edged a dramatic five-set match 5-7, 7-6 (8-6,) 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 16-14 to claim a sixth Wimbledon title and a 15th Grand Slam victory &ndash; surpassing the previous record set by Pete Sampras.<br /><br />Indeed, Sampras made a first visit to SW19 in seven years to watch the 27-year-old break his record and, with it, regain his status as the world&rsquo;s No1 player over Rafael Nadal.<br /><br />But Federer was made the dig deep for his accolades by gutsy Roddick, playing the best tennis of his career.<br /><br />Indeed, Federer was forced to save four set points to prevent Roddick surging into a two-set lead, yet still Roddick came back to level at 2-2 when Federer looked odds-on favourite to prevail. What happened then rewrote the history books. Neither man gave an inch for 30 service games and 90 agonising minutes until Federer finally broke the booming Roddick serve for the only time in the match to clinch the title.<br /><br />It was the longest fifth set in men&rsquo;s Grand Slam history, and at 77 games, it was the longest-ever final &ndash; 15 more than last year&rsquo;s epic battle where Nadal ended Federer&rsquo;s five-year winning streak. &ldquo;I had to play my very, very best to come through,&rdquo; a relieved Federer said on claiming back the trophy and reflecting on his new legendary status. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s not really one of those goals you set as a little boy but, man, it&rsquo;s been quite a career. It feels amazing but this is not why I am playing tennis for, to break all these records but it is definitely one of the greatest ones to have.&rdquo;<br /><br />&ldquo;Today with Pete Sampras it was a bit special. When he walked in and I saw him for the first time I did get more nervous. I said hello to him too, which is unusual, but I didn&rsquo;t want to be rude. I only got confirmation he was coming yesterday, but he promised me a long time ago he would.&rdquo;<br />While he consistently failed to break down Roddick&rsquo;s huge serve, Federer responded with a best-ever personal tally of 50 aces &ndash; just one behind the Wimbledon record set by Ivo Karlovic.<br /><br />Roddick went into the final having won just twice in his previous 20 matches against Federer, including defeat in the Wimbledon finals of 2004 and 2005. But after coming so close to an upset, he admitted this was the hardest defeat to take.<br /><br />&ldquo;He was having trouble picking up my serve today for the first time ever,&rdquo; Roddick said. &ldquo;He just toughed it out. He served great. He did what he had to. If he hadn&rsquo;t have served as well, I&rsquo;d be sitting here in a better mood.&rdquo;