Federer, Serena return to Wimbledon glory

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Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Roger Federer's wait was only 12 months, while Serena Williams returned to the Wimbledon winner's circle for the first time in six years this past weekend.

Federer held off Andy Roddick in a five-set classic that didn't quite have the same drama as last year's Federer-Nadal masterpiece, but did set some Wimbledon and Grand Slam event records in the process...like a staggering 30- game final set.

The high-flying Federer corralled his sixth Wimbledon title in the last seven years, while playing in a men's record 20th Grand Slam final (15-5).

Serena, meanwhile, straight-setted her big sister Venus in the fourth all- Williams final at the All England Club. Serena improved to 3-1 lifetime against Venus in their Wimbledon finals, with Serena's other wins coming in 2002 and 2003. Venus handled her younger sibling in last year's finale at SW19.

Roger Federer won his record 15th major singles title and was then joined by fellow tennis legends Bjorn Borg, Pete Sampras and Rod Laver for a once-in-a-lifetime photograph.
Federer became the men's all-time leader with 15 Grand Slam titles, breaking a tie with Pete Sampras he created by winning his first-ever French Open title last month. In the past month, Federer became the sixth man in history to capture a career Grand Slam and also became only the second man in the last 29 years to win Roland Garros and Wimbledon in the same year, a feat accomplished by Rafael Nadal last year when the Spaniard whipped Federer in the French Open final and outlasted Federer in the historic Wimbledon title tilt.

Unfortunately, a Federer-Nadal final could not be revisited this year at Wimbledon, as Nadal pulled out of the draw three days before play commenced due to ongoing issues with tendinitis in his knees.

The amazing Federer now holds three of the four major titles and overtook Nadal as the new No. 1 player in the world. Nadal supplanted Federer atop the rankings last year after the Swiss icon enjoyed a record stay at the top, since 2004.

Meanwhile, a resurgent Roddick not only did himself proud on Sunday, pushing Federer for 77, count 'em, a Wimbledon record 77 games, he's also enjoying his best Grand Slam season in six years.

Andy Roddick came as close as he's ever been to a Wimbledon title, but lost to Federer for the third time in a final there.
Roddick reached the Aussie Open semis back in January, only to lose to Federer; had his best-ever showing at the French Open, by reaching the fourth round; and soared all the way into his third Wimbledon final, where he succumbed to Federer for a third time in six years. Federer also beat the American slugger in the 2004 and 2005 Wimbledon finales.

The former U.S. Open champion Roddick may have fallen to 2-19 lifetime against Federer, including 0-4 in Grand Slam finals, but played perhaps his best-ever match against Federer in defeat over the weekend.

The 26-year-old Roddick had some big wins at Wimbledon last week, including a grueling five-setter against former champion and fellow former world No. 1 Lleyton Hewitt in the quarters and an upset of heavy British crowd favorite Andy Murray in the semis.

A spent Roddick pulled out of this week's Davis Cup quarterfinal between the U.S. and host Croatia, citing a hip injury he suffered in the fourth set during his setback against Federer on Sunday.

Serena became a three-time Wimbledon champ by dethroning the reigning two-time winner and five-time overall champ Venus and also secured her 11th career Grand Slam title. Serena, like Federer, now holds three of the four major titles (Wimbledon, Australian Open, U.S. Open), but is still ranked only No. 2 in the world behind Dinara Safina, who was embarrassed by Venus in last week's SFs at the AEC.

Serena Williams now owns three Wimbledon titles and 11 major championships.
Safina is "No. 1" in the world despite having never won a Grand Slam title. She is, however, a respectable three-time major runner-up over the last 13 months.

Note: Only Steffi Graf (22), Martina Navratilova (18) and Chris Evert (18) have tallied more Grand Slam singles titles than Serena in the Open Era (since 1968).

The seven-time major titlist Venus didn't play her best match against Serena this past Saturday, but did wind up reaching eight of the 10 Wimbledon finals this decade, going 5-3.

No surprise, the Brits were disappointed once again, and not by the women, who have not been a factor at Wimbledon for the last three-plus decades. Murray was their greatest hope in a long time, but the world No. 3 U.S. Open runner- up gave way to a determined Roddick in the final four last week.

Murray was hoping to give Britain its first male Wimbledon champion since Fred Perry in 1936, but the dry spell, instead, moved into its 74th year. The Brits haven't had a female champion there since Virginia Wade in 1977.

Five-time champion Venus Williams finished as the runner-up to her younger sister for a third time at the All England Club.
Another big story at Wimbledon 2009 was the weather, which was nothing short of spectacular. There was one rain delay over the entire fortnight, and it was a brief one, halting play for only a matter of minutes at the storied complex. The spanking-new roof on Centre Court was used only once, and even that was unnecessary, as the brief shower moved out of the area very quickly last Monday. A bout between Safina and Amelie Mauresmo was completed under the roof, even though the skies were clear outside, and a contest between Murray and Stanislas Wawrinka was also staged indoors that night, despite beautiful conditions outside the venerable tennis stadium.

And by the way, if the state of American tennis is so bad, then why were three of last week's four Wimbledon singles finalists and four of the eight doubles finalists from the United States? The U.S. accounted for the women's singles champ (Serena), the women's doubles titlists (Williams sisters), the men's singles runner-up (Roddick), and the men's dubs runners-up (the Bryan brothers).

FYI, former women's No. 1 Kim Clijsters is gearing up for her return to the WTA Tour, and has targeted the upcoming U.S. Open (August 31) as her first major appearance since the 2007 Aussie Open. Clijsters captured her lone major title at the U.S. Open back in 2005.

By the time the U.S. Open rolls around at the end of August, no doubt the reigning five-time champion Federer and last year's winner Serena will be the favorites in the Big Apple. How can they not be?

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