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A look back at Roger Federer's record 8 Wimbledon titles

NEWS
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86   //    01 Jul 2018, 23:09 IST
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LONDON (AP) — Roger Federer's paths to his record eight Wimbledon championships were each different, of course.

Different opponents. Different degrees of difficulty. Same old Federer.

A year ago, for example, he did not drop a set the entire way, becoming the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to claim the title at the All England Club in that unblemished manner.

In 2009, in contrast, Federer was pushed to the very limit, edging Andy Roddick 16-14 in the fifth set of a final that remains the longest, by games, of any Grand Slam title match in tennis history.

Here is a year-by-year look at Federer's trophy runs at Wimbledon:

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No. 1: 2003

Final: Beat Mark Philippoussis 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3).

Grand Slam Title: 1

Age: 21

At Stake: Pegged for great success, Federer had yet to get past the quarterfinals of a major tournament.

Close Call: Federer dropped only one set, to Mardy Fish in the third round, but the toughest moment came in the round of 16, when Federer needed treatment on his aching back while beating Feliciano Lopez.

Key Quote: "There was pressure from all sides — also from myself. I wanted to do better in Slams." — Federer.

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No. 2: 2004

Final: Beat Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3), 6-4.

Grand Slam Title: 3

Age: 22

At Stake: His first attempt to defend a major championship.

Close Call: After dropping the first set, then trailing by a break at 4-2 in the third, Federer used a rain delay to change strategy, opting to charge the net more. He made that switch on his own, because he'd been without a coach since firing his a little more than six months earlier. It worked: Federer won 24 of the next 28 points on his serve.

Key Quote: "This is a very important phase in his career as well, that he could step back, not rely on somebody, get to know himself, get to know his own tennis and technique." — Federer's mother, Lynette.

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No. 3: 2005

Final: Beat Roddick 6-2, 7-6 (2), 6-4.

Grand Slam Title: 5

Age: 23

At Stake: Trying to become the first man in 50 years to win his first five major finals.

Close Call: None, really. Federer dropped merely one of 22 sets he played over the two weeks, a tiebreaker against 25th-seeded Nicolas Kiefer in the third round, but quickly recovered to win that match 6-2, 6-7 (5), 6-1, 7-5.

Key Quote: "It's hard for him, because I really played a fantastic match — one of the best of my life. Today it seemed liked I was playing flawless." — Federer.

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No. 4: 2006

Final: Beat Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6 (5), 6-7 (2), 6-3.

Grand Slam Title: 8

Age: 24

At Stake: Entering the championship match, Federer was 0-4 that season against Nadal — including a loss in the French Open final weeks earlier — and 55-0 against everyone else.

Close Call: Once again, nothing to speak of, because Federer dropped just one set all tournament, this time in the final. Nadal did serve for the second set at 5-4, but missed three forehands and double-faulted to get broken there, before ceding the ensuing tiebreaker.

Key Quote: "I'm very well aware of how important this match was for me. If I lose, obviously, it's a hard blow for me — he wins French, Wimbledon back-to-back. It's important for me to win a final against him, for a change, and beat him, for a change." — Federer.

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No. 5: 2007

Final: Beat Nadal 7-6 (7), 4-6, 7-6 (3), 2-6, 6-2.

Grand Slam Title: 11

Age: 25

At Stake: Joining Borg as the only men in the last 100 years to win Wimbledon five years in a row.

Close Call: After dropping just one set (in a quarterfinal against 2003 French Open champion Juan Carlos Ferrero) along an unusually short road to the final (fourth-round foe Tommy Haas withdrew with an injury), Federer got all he could handle against Nadal.

Key Quote: "He's an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. I believe if he continues the way he's doing and stays away from injuries and has the motivation, he'll be the greatest player ever to play the game." — Borg.

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No. 6: 2009

Final: Beat Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14.

Grand Slam Title: 15

Age: 27

At Stake: Breaking Sampras' record for most major singles trophies won by a man and reasserting his supremacy at Wimbledon after losing a 9-7 fifth set to Nadal in the 2008 final.

Close Call: What could be a closer call than that fifth set? Federer's only break of the day came in the match's 77th and last game. Also worth remembering is that 2017 International Tennis Hall of Fame inductee Roddick led the second-set tiebreaker 6-2 but did not convert any of the four points that would have given him a two-set lead.

Key Quote: "He's a legend. Now he's an icon." — Sampras.

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No. 7: 2012

Final: Beat Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.

Grand Slam Title: 17

Age: 30

At Stake: Tying the record held by Sampras and William Renshaw (who played in the 1800s) for most Wimbledon men's championships, plus ending a personal 2½-year Grand Slam drought.

Close Call: Federer dropped the first two sets in the third round against 29th-seeded Julien Benneteau of France, then was two points away from losing a half-dozen times, but pulled out a 4-6, 6-7 (3), 6-2, 7-6 (6), 6-1 comeback.

Key Quote: "Oh, my God, it was brutal. The thing, when you're down two sets to love, is to stay calm, even though it's hard, because people are freaking out, people are worried for you." — Federer.

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No. 8: 2017

Final: Beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

Grand Slam Title: 19 (he added No. 20 at this year's Australian Open)

Age: 35

At Stake: Breaking the mark for most men's singles titles at the All England Club after coming up just short with losses to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 and 2015 finals.

Close Call: Nothing whatsoever. The closest thing to a close call came in the semifinals, when 2010 runner-up Tomas Berdych pushed Federer to tiebreakers in each of the first two sets. Cilic was hampered by foot blister in a final that was lopsided throughout.

Key Quote: "Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament. Will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here." — Federer.

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Follow Howard Fendrich on Twitter at http://twitter.com/HowardFendrich

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