Twice beforein 2004 and 2005the powerhouse Roddick had lost to Federer in the finals of Wimbledon. He had also been beaten by his much heralded rival in the U.S. Open final of 2006. Most erudite observers predicted that Federer would handle the American again on another big occasion. The Swiss had been in every Centre Court final since claiming the crown for the first time in 2003. He had won five championships in a row at Wimbledon before Nadal had narrowly held him back in 2008. Now he was back to reclaim his old authority on familiar terrain.
Moreover, Federer had completed a career Grand Slam only a few weeks earlier at Roland Garros by capturing the elusive French Open. He was ascendant, confident, eager and well prepared. But Roddick was a revitalized and more complete player than he had ever been before, boosted immeasurably by the coaching council of Larry Stefanki, ready to give Federer all he could handle. From the outset, Roddick made it strikingly apparent that he was not intimidated by Federer despite walking on court with a 2-18 career head to head record against the Swiss maestro.
Roddick took the first set 7-5, achieving the lone break in the twelfth game, and then was in a commanding position. Roddick served at 6-2 in the second set tie-break but Federer saved that set point by almost casually flicking a backhand winner crosscourt. He saved two more set points on his own serve, but Roddick should have closed out the set at 6-5 on his own serve. He approached on the Federer forehand. Federer sent a forehand passing shot up the line but Roddick hesitated for an instant and blew the backhand volley. Federer somehow rescued himself, saving four set points altogether, reaching one set all. That was a shattering development for a despondent Roddick.
After Federer took the third set in another tie-break, a gallant Roddick regrouped to capture the fourth set. Heading into the fifth set, Roddick had not lost his serve in the entire match. But he had to serve from behind in that final set, and that was no simple task. Federers rhythm on serve was unanswerable. He would set a personal record with 50 aces for the match. At 8-8 in the fifth set, Roddick had a chance. Federer was down 15-40, but the American could not take advantage. Federer wiped away those break points with percentage tactics.
Roddick kept holding serve admirably, refusing to cede any ground, keeping a certain amount of pressure on Federer. But, at 14-15, Roddick finally cracked. Federer pounced. The Swiss triumphed 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 in four hours and sixteen minutes.
With that hard earned victory that Federer would say later was largely about his willpower, the Swiss garnered a record breaking 15th Grand Slam singles title. He had lost his serve twice while Roddick was broken only once in this five set encounter, yet Federers game held up slightly better down the stretch on a debilitating sunny day. For the second year in a row, Roger Federer had been involved in an epic final round extravaganza on the Centre Court, but this one had concluded in the bright light of victoryin contrast to his loss in the darkness against the redoubtable Nadal.