Ever since the first Wimbledon crown gained at 21 in 2003, Roger Federer had been the player to beat at the All England Club for seven years, never losing before the final during that stint. Following five consecutive titles between 2003-07, Federer became one of the most successful players at the most prestigious tennis tournament, rattling off one win after another before Rafael Nadal finally found the way to stop him in that epic 2008 final.
In the opening four months of 2009, Federer had lacked the finishing touch, losing to Andy Murray, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Stan Wawrinka in the closing stages at the Australian Open and Masters 1000 events, changing that in Madrid where he defeated tired Rafael Nadal.
With the Spaniard out of his path, Roger went all the way at Roland Garros, beating Robin Soderling to complete a Carrer Grand Slam. Skipping Halle and enjoying the trophy from Paris for a couple of days, Roger set his eyes on Wimbledon glory that stayed out of his reach 12 months earlier, seeking the sixth crown at the All England Club and the record-breaking 15th Major.
The Swiss was the last man standing on July 5 after an epic battle with his old rival Andy Roddick, prevailing 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14 in four hours and 16 minutes in what has been the longest Grand Slam final in terms of games played.
Philipp Kohlschreiber, Robin Soderling, Ivo Karlovic and Tommy Haas were there to challenge Roger before the Roddick clash, with the Swiss passing all the obstacles to advance into the seventh consecutive Wimbledon final.
The beaten finalist from 2004 and 2005, Andy Roddick also had to work hard in the first six encounters. He dropped six sets in the first six matches, overpowering Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Murray (those two matches lasted for seven hours combined) to set another Wimbledon final with Roger Federer, hoping for better fortune than four and five years ago.
Ready to leave his 120% in the last Grand Slam final in a career, the American pushed Federer to the limits from start to finish, winning only ten points less than the great rival and suffering only one break of serve! Against any other opponent, that would have been enough to claim the trophy but not against Roger who lost serve twice but prevailed in the crucial moments to write his name in the history books.
Andy had a 6-2 lead in the second set tie break that could have pushed him two sets to love up, wasting two break points at 8-8 in the decider and suffering a heartbreaking loss after the only break of serve that Roger delivered at 15-14!
They blasted 186 service winners in 436 points and around 300 exchanges never reached the fourth stroke.
There were some 15 points with double-digit strokes, with both eager to keep the points on their racquet and impose their shots.
Federer had more winners mainly thanks to his forehand but Roddick forced more errors to stay in touch, battling with Roger like almost no one before at Majors and falling short in the end. Ten commanding holds led them towards 5-5 in some 25 minutes before Roddick experienced first troubles on serve in the 11th game, repelling four break points (three with service winners) and securing the opener with a break in the next one after forcing an error from Federer.
Nothing could separate them in set number two, producing 12 powerful holds for a tie break where the pressure was on Roger, especially after finding himself 6-2 down. With no room for errors, the Swiss fired three winners to reduce the deficit before Andy squandered the last set point after a terrible volley at the net that probably has been coming back to him ever since.
Federer stole the breaker 8-6 after a backhand error from Roddick, taking the last six points and creating a massive momentum ahead of the rest of the encounter. Andy saved a break point at 2-2 in set number three to prepare another tie break that Federer claimed 7-5 with a forehand winner, moving two sets to one in front after two hours and ten minutes.
Ready to fight until the end, Andy broke in the fourth game of the fourth set when Federer failed to control rival's backhand down the line bullet, holding after deuce in the next game to cement the lead. From 30-0 down, Roddick won four points in a row in game nine, closing the set with a service winner and sending this thrilling clash into a decider, with the crowd yet to witness more epic stuff from those two.
An incredible backhand winner gave Roger a break chance in the second game, denied by a service winner from Roddick who was there to challenge Federer game after game. At 8-8, the American had an enormous opportunity to grab a break and serve for the match, with Federer saving two break points with winners to get out of jail and standing as the more dangerous rival in the rest of the clash.
Andy wasted two game points at 14-15 and hit a loose forehand to give Roger a break, propelling the Swiss towards tennis glory and leaving the court in ruins after giving everything he had on that day.