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Better late than never for Federer

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Originally published on: 26/02/10 12:32

The Swiss finally laid his hands on the Roland Garros crown with a 6-1 7-6 (7/1) 6-4 victory over Robin Soderling in Sunday’s final. Federer had lost the last three finals in Paris to Rafael Nadal but he can now celebrate becoming the sixth man to clinch a career Grand Slam of all the major titles.

“Having to wait gives you more pleasure because the first victory, at Wimbledon in 2003, was a shock,” said Federer, who has also moved level with Pete Sampras on a record 14 grand-slam title successes.

“Later on, you know what it’s like winning, managing pressure, walking on central courts with the press, being rich and famous.

“Your life changes. Mine has definitely changed since winning my first grand slam. So there is a huge satisfaction winning here in Paris after I was so close many times in a row. It was the optimal moment for me to win Roland Garros.”

Federer dominated Soderling, the 23rd seed who had ousted Nadal in round four, in rainy and windy conditions. But the world number two admitted clinching victory was simply unbearable.

“I was very nervous at the beginning of the third set because I realised how close I was. And the last game was almost unplayable,” he recalled.

“I was just hoping to serve some good serves and hoping he was going to make four errors. It was that bad. It was an emotional rollercoaster for me.”

To many, the victory rubber-stamped Federer’s status as the greatest player the game has seen. The Swiss, however, remains unsure.

“I’ve always thought it’s nice to be part of the best. I feel privileged and proud of my accomplishments in this sport,” he said. “I don’t know if we’ll ever know who was the greatest of all time but I’m definitely happy to be right up there.”

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