Roger Federer won his record 15th Grand Slam title Sunday when he outlasted Andy Roddick for his sixth Wimbledon championship in a marathon match that went to 16-14 in the fifth set.
Federer served 50 aces and overcame the resilient American 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 to break the record of major titles he shared with Pete Sampras and enhance his reputation as arguably the greatest player of all time.
The 30 games in the fifth set established a record for the most games played in any set in a Wimbledon singles final. The previous overall record for games in a set was 24, and 16 games for a decisive fifth set.
The match finally ended after more than four hours of play when Federer broke for the first time all day, with Roddick hitting an errant forehand.
Federer jumped high in celebration, punched the air and whacked the net with his racket. Roddick tossed his racket to the side and the two men shared a hug at the net. Federer held up the trophy, kissed it and held it close to his chest.
Federer also reclaimed the No. 1 ranking he lost last year to Rafael Nadal, the man who beat him in the epic 2008 final but missed this year's tournament because of knee problems.
Watching it all from the front row of the Royal Box was Sampras, a seven-time Wimbledon champion who flew in from California to see history made in his first appearance at the All England Club since playing here for the last time in 2002. Also on hand were Bjorn Borg and Rod Laver.
"It's not really one of those goals you set as a little boy, but man, it's been quite a career and quite a month," Federer said. "It feels amazing, but this is not why I'm playing tennis to break all sort of different records. But it's definitely one of the greatest ones to have."
Turning to Sampras, Federer said: "Thanks very much for coming. I know it's a long way, but you're a member, man, we like to see you here. It's such a pleasure to play in front of such greats
Federer drew a laugh from the crowd by saying, "Sorry, Pete, I tried to hold him off."
Federer's 15 major titles eclipses the mark he shared with Pete Sampras, who won his 14th Grand Slam trophy in his last match at the 2002 U.S. Open.
Federer is the third player in history to win six Wimbledon championships - Sampras and William Renshaw each won seven.
"It course it was a crazy match with an unbelievable end and my head's still spinning," Federer said. "But it's an unbelievable moment in my career."
It was the longest men's Grand Slam final in history at 77 games - breaking the previous record of 71 from 1927 in Australia. It was also the longest fifth set in a men's Grand Slam final in history, surpassing the 20 games from 1927 in France.