- The Washington Times - Tuesday, July 7, 2009

From combined dispatches

WIMBLEDON, England | Roger Federer certainly is not ready to stop at a record 15 Grand Slam titles.

Still, he figures his recent run of success is about as good as it gets: a first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam and tie Pete Sampras with 14 major championships, followed immediately by a sixth Wimbledon trophy for No. 15.

“I don’t know if I’ve had a more happy period in my tennis life. I don’t know if I can ever top this,” Federer said Monday at the All England Club, less than 24 hours after beating Andy Roddick 16-14 in the longest fifth set in major final history.

“These last months, with all the records on the line, and coming through both times, knowing what it means to me, it’s quite amazing,” said Federer, who also returned to No. 1 in the rankings.

After attending the Wimbledon champions dinner on Sunday night, Federer managed to squeeze in two hours of sleep before rising at 9 a.m. Monday.

“Sleep is so overrated,” he said with a smile. “Then you wake up, and you’re like, ‘Man, you did it again.’ ”

This one did not come easily: Federer was not able to break Roddick’s serve until the 77th and last game. It was a welcome change for Federer, who lost a 9-7 fifth set to Rafael Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final.

The marathon final had the second-highest television ratings since 2000, drawing a 4.2 overnight rating and 12 share. Only 2008’s epic final had a higher rating in the last eight years.

Nadal didn’t defend his title at the All England Club, citing sore knees. That came after a loss in the fourth round at the French Open, where Nadal won the previous four titles.

Federer said it didn’t matter that Nadal wasn’t at this year’s Wimbledon.

“Not at all. Sure, people might see it this way, and I wish I could have played him again,” Federer said. “Rafa was part of the French Open - I didn’t play him there in the final, and it didn’t take anything away in my opinion. …

“[Bjorn] Borg walked away from tennis at 27. Does that take anything away from John McEnroe or the legacy he had? No. You only have to beat who’s across the net, and that’s what it takes, and you can’t always play the other biggest rivals. But I’m sad for him that he didn’t even get a chance to defend Wimbledon.”

Roddick out of Davis Cup

Wimbledon runner-up Andy Roddick withdrew from the U.S. Davis Cup team’s quarterfinal at Croatia, citing a right hip flexor injury.

The U.S. Tennis Association announced Roddick wouldn’t participate in this week’s matches because he was hurt during Sunday’s loss to Roger Federer at Wimbledon.

Roddick slipped and tumbled to the grass in the eighth game of the fourth set. He stayed down for a few moments, then rose, grimacing, before toweling off. After the match, Roddick said he did not injure himself during that fall.

He was replaced by Mardy Fish, who reached the third round at Wimbledon.

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