By Ed Holden, Guest Blogger
It’s Andy Roddick and Roger Federer in the final of Wimbledon. The armchair blog will be seeing you through with thoughts and insights on the finalists. Heck, we might even talk about the tennis a bit.
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1358 – Federer strolls in for his pre-match interview as if he was nipping down to his local for a pint of milk. I remember being struck by his level of relaxation when he beat Nadal in 2007. Fed is playing to become the record-holder for the most major tournaments ever won by a player, not that you’d think it to look at him.
1402 – But, if Roddick can play like he did against Murray, history will be tough in the making for Fed. It’s great that the British fans are so fond of Roddick, despite his defeating Murray.
1404 – Celeb-watch! Woody Allen and Russell Crowe spied by the BBC director. Boris Becker is doing great commentary – every bit the charmer. Even Tim Henman’s getting a few laughs! Things are looking up.
1406 – Tim and Boris both pick Fed to win (so do we).
1409 – We’re underway. Roddick to serve. Ace. We’d better get used to those!
With brand new balls, Roddick’s serve is nearly unstoppable. Fed can’t even connect with the second serve.
1412 – 0-15 on Fed’s serve. But he pulls it straight back.
1416 – SAMPRAS SHOWS UP. A wave to the crowd as he receives a round of applause, taking his seat fashionably late. Will Federer take his crown?
1418 – All very much with serve, though Roddick is stroking the ball well. Tim Henman points out that the longer points are always likely to go to fed.
1421 – Amazing backhand pass from Roddick to finish out his service game. This is going to be tough!
1426 – Best point of the game so far. Federer somehow nudges an impossible chase-down down the line to defeat Roddick. A-Rod is still holding firm though…
1428 – Snazzy BBC analysis. Wow! They’ve merged two Federer service points from past games. He hits completely different serves from exactly the same spot – it’s un-readable.
1431 – All on serve.
1437 – Couple of slips from Roddick. 0-30. Pressure on.
Serves his way out of trouble for 30-30.
Fed wins a long rally for 30-40. Break point.
Mistake from Roddick. Advantage Fed.
1442 – Another break point!
Fed nails one. Hawkeye says out!! Roddick survives. Great challenge A-Rod.
Break point number 4!
Fed challenges his return being called out. Fed gets it wrong. Back to deuce.
Advantage Roddick. He serves it out. Great bit of survival there from the tough American.
1447 – Andrew Castle and Tim discuss whether Sampras actually wants to see his record taken by Fed. He has flown all the way over here and maybe his inner competitor is secretly urging on Roddick.
1450 – Set point Roddick!
Roddick takes the first! He’s got it!! Magnificent ground strokes actually defeat the Swiss magician in an inspired service break.
1452 – The crowd is notably behind Roddick. “Game on” says Andrew Castle.
1500 – All on serve. Fed’s picking up some longer points. Becker says “The American is dangerously good right now.”
1504 – Swings and roundabouts. Roddick serves a double fault after two aces.
1505 – Castle reviews the head-to-head record between these two players. Fed is 18-2 up! You wouldn’t think it to look at the evenly-matched battle on centre court.
1507 – Federer wants to get a look in at the Roddick serve. But the aces are still raining down.
1516 – “No spark yet” from Fed. We’re at the business end of the second set now.
30-30 Roddick two points away from two-set lead,
But Fed cleverly wrong-foots him.
Magnificent 25(ish) shot rally won by Fed. Roddick was looking really good on the Fed serve for a second there. Fed survives.
1521 – Great points coming thick and fast now. 40-15 on Roddick serve.
Fed now has to serve to stay in the set.
40-0 – Tie break imminent. Roger serving excellently.
1525 – TIE BREAK – Fed must win!
143 mph ace from Roddick. Wow.
Mini-break Roddick. 2-0.
Ace. 2-1 Roddick.
Two great serves. 4-1 Roddick. Tense times for Fed!
Wow! What a backhand from A-Rod. 5-1. Those are the points Fed is supposed to win!
6-2 Roddick serving for the second set!
Gutsy flick backhand from federer. 6-3.
6-4. Now 6-5. One more serve for Roddick on set-point.
HOW DID HE MISS THAT!! Roddick misses an easy volley for the set!
Fed hits it to his feet and Roddick loses the volley. 7-6 to Fed.
Fed takes it 8-6!!! Six straight points in a row for the win!
1-1 – Fed takes the second.
1535 – Roddick takes a bathroom break. What can be going through his head right now?
1537 – Tim Henman: “His dream’s still alive but that was just a nightmare.” Thanks Tim – maybe best to have kept that one to yourself.
1539 – Shot of McEnroe commentating for the American Network he works for – it’s like the BBC are willing him back into their commentary box. He’s the best commentator and everyone knows it.
1545 – Roddick powers through a potent love service game. The “nightmare” of the second-set tie-break seems forgotten.
1549 – Celeb-spotted. Chelsea’s Michael Ballack in some expensive-looking shades. The BBC pay the German star tribute by picking out Stamford Bridge with their long-lensed cameras.
1552 – Out of nowhere – a break point for Fed. Great body-serve rescues Roddick.
And another great point from Roddick. He gos Advantage up.
Classic passing shot from Federer for Deuce. Great volley for Roddick. And he serves out the game.
1557 – CELEB-SPOTTED – Alex Ferguson spotted in the crowd, prompting a flurry of football-chat from Boris Becker. He stops suddenly. You can almost hear the BBC director in his ear telling him to put a sock in it! This is tennis!
1600 – Game Roddick on serve. Could we be looking at another tie-break?
Beautiful precise play from Fed. You get the feeling he’s finding his game.
1608 – RANDOM CELEB-SPOT – Henry Kissinger jumps out of the history books and onto our screens!
1610 – All with serve. But Fed gets Roddick to 15-30 with a classic passing shot.
Ace from Roddick – right “on the T” for 30-30.
1613 – TIE BREAK TIME! Will Roddick be haunted by memories of the second set?
Mini-break for Fed. 2-1 and serving.
3-1 Fed. Great shot.
5-1 Fed. Looking dominant as Rod dumps a forehand in the net.
5-3 great forehand from Roddick.
6-3 Set point Fed.
6-5 Fed serving for it. Tense times!
Spectacular wide service gives Fed an easy smash for the third set. He’s all about the big moments in the big matches, points out Tim.
1625 – The armchair blogger is sweating in the summer heat. We can’t imagine what it must be like for the players out there as we approach the 2.5 hour mark.
1627 – Double fault from Fed gives 15-30. But A-Rod makes a couple of mistakes and Fed wins the game. The crowd are getting behind A-Rod – they want a 5th.
RANDOM CELEB-SPOT – Former F1 Driver David Coulthard shows up. Are the Beeb feeding us these shots gradually or are they just putting someone on when they spot someone?
1633 – 15-40 On Fed’s Serve. Two break points Roddick!
RODDICK BREAKS! Could it be a five-setter!?
1638 – Deuce on Roddick’s serve – “it’s not a break until you’ve held” as the old tennis saying goes.
1645 – What a point from Roddick! He took Fed on in a long exchange and somehow won it. It’s just not the kind of point you expect Andy Roddick to win. He’s now 5-2 with one more service game to win to force Fed into a fifth.
1648 – Roddick takes a nasty tumble. He seems okay though. The slow-mo replay is not pretty. A knee hyper-extension? What a shame it would be if that ended the game. He seems okay, Now he has to serve out the fourth.
Two ace fed forehands and it’s 0-30!
15-30. Fed misfires. 30-30. Good recovery Roddick.
Incredible miracle slice on the Roddick forehand. He’s resisting the best of Fed for a set point!
Great serve – Fed’s return floats long.
1653 – It’s a FIVE-SETTER!!
1659 – It’s all about will-power now. The UK TV audience will be smaller due to the absence of Andy Murray, But anyone missing this is denying themselves a slice of the finest sports drama.
The Fed seems to be winning the long points now. He’s at 30-30 on Roddick’s serve. He’s always going to make less mistakes.
1702 – IMPOSIBLE SHOT BY FED. That has to be one of the best backhand we’ve seen. Barely got to the Roddick forehand then somehow MIRACULOUSLY gets it corss court past a diving Roddick. Now 30-40.
Game Roddick. The serve digs him out again.
Great commentary from Andrew castle: “Roddick’s going to leave everything on this court – blood, sweat, flesh… it doesn’t matter to him.”
1704 – Don’t challenge that Fed it was out! Hawkeye is fired up. No it wasn’t!! Fed goes to 40-15 on his serve.
1706 – Lovely serving from A-Rod for 30-0. Now 40-0. How does he still manage to generate all that power after 3 hours!?
1708 – Fed answers with a 40-0 service game of his own. Their both trying to find their composure. It all hangs in the balance. To say this is TV gold is a massive understatement. Sampras is all smiles in the royal box.
1712 – A-Rod taking advantage of the new balls.
And Roddick holds.
1715 – The BBC have been criticised for their excessive arty slow-mo shots this Wimbledon. And it was particularly bad during the Murray 5-setter with Stan Wawrinka when the crowd’s body-parts were all displayed in wobbly slow-mo. But today some of the slow-mo shots have actually been quite amazing, particularly if you have a decent TV.
1717 – Fed narrowly avoids an aggressive Roddick serve. Is this moment in anyway symbolic of the events that are about to unfold? No not really,
4-4 in the fifth. It’s crunch time. Fed serving.
The BBC have the score wrong. They’re showing 30-0 when it’s actually 40. Not a good time to be making mistakes Beeb.
Fed serves out for 5-4.
1722 – 40-0 on the impossibly powerful Roddick serve. Wins the service game. Fed must now defend.
1724 – The serve is king in this game. Fed goes to 40-0. Error on the forehand – 40-15.
6-5 to Fed in the 5th. What a final this is. Roddick serving to stay in the championship.
Henman: “Sit back we could be here a while.” Tim’s right – they’re both serving excellently.
1728 – GREAT POINT> Federer gets to the net on the Roddick serve but A-Rod powers a beautiful backhand down the line.
Fed’s turn to serve. at 6-6.
Roddick gets the net cord as he runs in for the Fed drop shot. 30-30.
1733 – CELEB SPOT – Tennis leend Rob Laver is looking very happy – perhaps he’s a few Pimms down at this point.
How is Fed getting these Roddick serves back! They seem nearly impossible.
40-15 on Rod serve as he wins a long point on a Fed forehand error.
Uncharacteristically weak forehand from Fed. Boris Becker “senses some tightness” in Fed’s game. The Swiss master is now in to serve.
1736 – Fed double fault! 15-15.
Two of the best shots you’ll ever see from Fed. And no we’re not exaggerating. Wow. He takes his serve despite Roddick’s best efforts.
1740 – Roddick Serve. Ace. Ace. 30-0. 40-15. Game Roddick.
1742 – Fed to serve! Roddick looks pumped.
15-30! Perfect, perfect tennis from Roddick!
15-40!! What a backhand!!!! We’re on our feet!
40-40!! It is SO hard to get to Fed! He still looks cool and calm.
Advantage Fed. Game Fed. What a thriller!!
1746 – Roddick serving. Fed loses the ground-stroke point with a stray backhand.
Another error. 30-0 Roddick.
What a shot! Rodd delicately picks the ball out from his feet at the net for a 40-15 lead. Game Roddick.
It’s 9-9 in the Wimbledon final. It’s becoming an all-time classic.
1749 – Fed serving.
30-15 Fed. Great forehand down into the right-hand corner.
Ace. 40-15. (And 40 aces in the game for Fed)
40-30 – IMPOSSIBLE backhand down the line from A-Rod.
Game fed on a hawkeye call. Millimetres in it.
1753 – 15-15 on Roddick serve.
30-15 to A-rod. Ace. 40-15. GAME RODDICK.
We’re at 10-10!!! Who will be standing at the end?!
1755 – Fed Serves. Forehand down the line. 15-0
15-15 following a gutsy A-Rod drop-shot. “Anything’s possible right now” says Boris.
30-15 – now 40 15 on a great serve. Ace number 42. Fed goes ahead again…
1757 – Roddick sips his drink and prepares to defend his place in the championship AGAIN. It’s 10-11 in the fifth.
15-0 as Fed chips long. Ace 30-0. 30-15. Second serve to the body for 40-15.
Deuce! “Is this the moment?” says Castle.
Advantage Roddick. Let. The crowd hushes. Bang! Game Roddick!
1802 – 11-11
Two aces from Fed. Where are they coming from! THREE ACES!! Game Fed! This is approaching ridiculous! That was Fed’s 45th Ace.
1805 – Roddick’s Up. Chalk flies as the first ace hits the centre line.
Roddick wins an easy service game to love. Could he have a chance now?
15-15 – Roddick has a look here!
Ace. 30-30. Ace. 40-30. Ace. Game Fed!
13-12!! Who will collapse first?!!! Federer has hit 100 winners and 48 aces!
This is the longest set in the history of the Men’s final.
1810 – Roddick serves.
0-15. Beautiful wide Fed forehand.
15-15 What a forehand! 30-15! 40-15!
40-30. Can Fed get a look here?!
DEUCE! Is fed going to make history?!
Ace! Advantage Roddick. GAME RODDICK!
Everyone is shaking their heads in disbelief. We’re past the 4-hour mark.
30-0 On the Fed serve. 40-0. It’s an easy one. Game Fed quite quickly.
14-13 Fed. Can Roddick defend again?
0-15 on the Rod serve. 15-15.
“Has Roddick punched himself out?”
15-30. Roddick misses the short fed return completely!
30-30 – Skin of Roddick’s teeth! He’s so brave to run into the net there.
40-30 – Game A-Rod!!
30-0 Fed after two stunning Fed forehands.
40-0. And Game Fed!
1822 – The stress! Surely this can’t be good for Fed’s unborn child…?
14-15 – Roddick to serve.
Missed backhand – 0-15
ACE! 15-30 Roddick silences the crowd.
40-30 (Another big serve)
Wayward Rod Backhand for DEUCE
Big serve Advantage Roddick
ADVANTAGE FED _ CHAMPIONSHIP POINT!!!
IT’S ALL OVER!!! FED SOMEHOW WINS IT!!!
RODDICK DESERVES A TROPHY – NO-ONE SHOULD LOSE! Sheer exhaustion on the faces of both players. The crowd chants Roddick’s name. He stands and takes the applause from the crowd and Fed himself. Tears in both players’ eyes.
“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: THE RUNNER-UP – ANDY RODDICK!” The crowd goes wild!
FED walks up to wild adulations from the crowd. Kisses the trophy.
RODDICK: “He’s a true champion and he deserves everything he gets. Sorry Pete – I tried to hold him off.” He’s a true gentleman. The ladies in the audience melt.
FED: “Unfortunately Tennis has to have a winner. It’s an unbelievable moment in my career.”
After nearly five hours of excitement, we’ll sign off. If there was any more proof needed that Roger Federer is the greatest tennis champion of all time, this was it.