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Federer finds fifth gear to catch Borg

July 09, 2007|Chuck Culpepper | Special to The Times

"You fought your heart out, you know, the whole way," Federer said. "So in the end you want to come through as the winner because otherwise it's so disappointing because you came so close, you know. So the record was on the line and everything just adds up and even puts more pressure on you....

"I knew that it was a big occasion, maybe the biggest occasion of my life so far on a big stage."

Contrast that walk, then, with another walk out before an audience. An hour-and-change after the match, Federer walked out onto a Wimbledon footbridge that overlooks a teeming walkway. In that dapper white warmup suit, as a five-time Wimbledon champion, Federer stopped on the bridge with a bag of tennis balls and tossed them one by one down to delighted fans. From the top, he grinned constantly and smiled so hugely that you could almost see his guts.

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Major league

All-time men's Grand Slam titles:

*--* Aus Frn Wim U.S. Total Pete Sampras 2 -- 7 5 14 Roy Emerson 6 2 2 2 12 Bjorn Borg -- 6 5 -- 11 Roger Federer 3 -- 5 3 11 Rod Laver 3 2 4 2 11 Bill Tilden -- -- 3 7 10 Andre Agassi 4 1 1 2 8 Jimmy Connors 1 -- 2 5 8 Ivan Lendl 2 3 -- 3 8 Fred Perry 1 1 3 3 8 Ken Rosewall 4 2 -- 2 8

*--*

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