The legend of Federer continues to grow

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Once again I find myself writing about the incomparable Roger Federer.

The sublime Swiss did it again last week by capturing a third straight Wimbledon title, beating American Andy Roddick at the All England Club for a third straight year, including the last two finals on the storied lawns at SW19.

FYI, the former world No. 1 Roddick is an awesome 32-0 on grass over the last three years when he's not playing Federer. The big-serving American, however, is 0-3 versus the Fed on the surface over that span, with all three losses coming at Wimby. Federer beat Roddick in the semifinals there in 2003.

The sweet-swingin' Federer dropped only one set at the '05 fortnight, as German Nicolas Kiefer took one off him in the third round, and the Swiss dismissed three former world No. 1s en route to the coveted title, including Juan Carlos Ferrero in the fourth round and Lleyton Hewitt in the semis.

Federer has beaten the world No. 2 Hewitt eight straight times, including wins in their last 15 sets.

The 23-year-old Federer now has his Grand Slam tally up to five (and counting), having won five of the last nine majors, dating back to Wimbledon '03.

Roger Federer
The amazing Federer has won five of the last nine Grand Slams.
The mighty Swiss also currently holds the U.S. Open and Masters Cup crowns and continues to be included in conversations with the likes of Pete Sampras and Bjorn Borg.

On the incredible front, Federer, who's already piled up a whopping eight titles this year, has won his last 21 finals. That's a record! The previous- best mark for consecutive victories in finals was 12, shared by Borg and John McEnroe.

The Swiss superstar became the first three-peat champion at Wimbledon since Sampras nailed down four straight from 1997-2000. Sampras also won three in a row from 1993-95 before big Dutchman Richard Krajicek derailed him in 1996.

Only the seven-time champion Sampras, the five-time winner Borg and Federer have won three straight Wimbledon titles since 1936 (Fred Perry 1934-36).

Federer, like Sampras, owns five major titles at the age of 23, while the amazing Borg had already picked up nine Grand Slam championships at that age.

Both Sampras and Borg won at least one major title eight years in a row.

Federer carved up the 2003 U.S. Open champion Roddick in straight sets in a 1- versus-2 finale last week, as the Swiss moved to a dominant 9-1 lifetime against the slugging American, including wins in their last five matchups. It marked the first repeat men's final at Wimbledon since Stefan Edberg and Boris Becker played three consecutive finals from 1988-90.

Federer's latest performance was no less than special, as he glided across the rye grass while demonstrating his full arsenal of shots against a perplexed Roddick.

The three-time Wimbledon champion Becker said, "I can't believe the way he (Federer) played. We are watching greatness unfold."

McEnroe, also a three-time Wimbledon titlist, claimed that Federer is "the greatest talent of all-time."

No argument here.

Federer improved to 5-0 in his career Grand Slam finals, as he became the first man since Tony Trabert from 1953-55 to win his first five major finals.

Federer's all-around game is, of course, unrivaled on tour. Whether he needs to attack or play from the baseline, the elegant Swiss can shift gears in order to dominate.

On grass, Federer's won a remarkable 36 straight matches, as he closes in on Borg's record of 41. All of Borg's wins came on the lawns at Wimbledon, where the Fed's a sizzling 21-0 since 2003. The Swiss' last loss on grass came against Croat Mario Ancic at Wimbledon 2002.

Borg still holds the modern Wimbledon record with his five straight titles from 1976-80.

Federer is also chasing Sampras' record 14 Grand Slam titles. The legendary Sampras also corralled five U.S. Opens and two Aussie Opens.

The silky-smooth Federer finally secured his first major of 2005, after losing to Russian Marat Safin in the Aussie Open semis back in January and Rafael Nadal in the Roland Garros final four last month. Federer won three-fourths of last year's Slams, with only the French Open eluding the athletic star. The Swiss still needs Roland Garros to complete a career Grand Slam.

Arguably the best athlete in the world right now, Federer is a tour-best 58-3 overall this season and has piled up 132 wins against a mere nine losses over the last two years, including an eye-popping 19 titles. He owns an even 30 titles since joining the tour and his next championship will tie him with Dutchman Tom Okker for 20th place on the all-time titles list.

Federer's career prize money is now just under the $18 million mark, including a tour-best $3.7 million this season.

The world No. 1 (and, of course, ATP Race-leading) Federer will look to repeat at the U.S. Open in two months, and he'll certainly be the favorite in Flushing.

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Scott Riley
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