Federer surprises himself with grand slam run
NEW YORK, Sep 11 (Reuters) Roger Federer was a contented man after beating Andy Roddick to win his third US Open title in a row and earn another slice of grand slam history.
''It's been a fantastic season. Winning three slams, it's unbelievable,'' Federer told reporters yesterday after adding the US crown to his 2006 Australian Open and Wimbledon titles.
The 25-year-old Swiss, who also reached this year's French Open final, became the first man to win three successive US Open and Wimbledon titles in the same years. His triumph at the All England Club was his fourth in a row.
Federer won his first grand slam at Wimbledon in 2003. Since then he has increased his grand slam haul to nine titles, trailing only Pete Sampras (14), Roy Emerson (12), Bjorn Borg (11), Rod Laver (11) and Bill Tilden (10) on the all-time list.
''I'm shocked myself how well it's been going the last three, four years,'' the world number one said after his 6-2 4-6 7-5 6-1 victory over Roddick.
An instinctive player who confounds opponents with the vast variety of his game, his creativity and the execution of his strokes, Federer has enjoyed his incredible ride without the benefit of a full-time coach.
DEFINING MOMENT He remembers a defining moment.
''Early on in my career, I couldn't win the Masters Series, couldn't win the slams, was struggling to win other titles,'' Federer said. ''I needed a change of attitude towards the game, to kind of turn the corner. I did that so well that it paid off incredibly.
''I always knew that I was talented, I had potential and everything.
''I used to feel pressure when I was young and people were saying, 'This guy's got some talent, but he can't get his mind right, he's not fit enough.' This stuff hurt me back then.
''I was at a junction. Which road do I want to take, the talented road or the hard working road? I chose for the hard working road and it paid off.
''The pressure for me now, it's what I enjoy. I like getting goosebumps walking out on center court and serving for the match.
These are the moments which you dream for.'' Federer ended the final with an emphatic overhand smash before flopping down on his back.
''I deserved to lie down,'' he joked. ''I kind of give myself a break from standing up, sitting down and everything. I just thought lying down would be more comfortable.'' Federer also came close to winning the French Open, the one slam to elude him, losing in the final to Rafael Nadal.
''He put the pressure on me for the grasscourt season to do it all over again, myself, too, like he did on clay,'' said Federer, who said he was confident of winning the French to complete the career grand slam.
Roddick said he felt he had closed the gap on Federer with his spirited fight in the final.
''You could say the gap is closing,'' Federer said. ''But at the same time, I'm playing so well and so consistent that it's going to be hard for them to pass me at the moment. That's for sure.'' REUTERS PDS KP1048