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Either way, it's a big story. If Roger Federer wins Sunday's men's final at Wimbledon, he will become the all-time Grand Slam title holder, with 15, surpassing Pete Sampras. Arguably, he will become the greatest player of all time.
If Andy Roddick wins, it will be massive upset and official notification that the American still has some gas left in the tank. And, in combination with Serena Williams' win in Saturday's women's final, it makes a solid case for an American tennis renaissance.
Lots of questions arise ahead of this titanic men's tilt. Our writers try their best to provide answers.Will Federer feel the pressure seeking a record 15th Grand Slam title?
Greg Garber: He hasn't so far, and with Rafael Nadal -- the man who beat him in last year's magnificent final -- back home in Mallorca, there are no worries. Federer said after winning at Roland Garros for the first time that the pressure he felt had lifted. Now, it seems, he was telling the truth. After losing a single set to Philipp Kohlschreiber, all Federer has done is win nine straight against Robin Soderling (the French Open finalist, who eliminated Rafa), ace machine Ivo Karlovic and the ageless Tommy Haas. Those matches averaged less than two hours. Pressure what pressure?
Kamakshi Tandon: Yes, to an extent. He admitted that he felt tremendous pressure going for five Wimbledons in a row in the final two years ago, and it was clear how much pressure he felt trying to win the French Open final last month.
But that didn't stop him from winning on either of those occasions, and the pressure will probably be less this time around because this isn't his only chance to win a 15th. If anything, Roddick will probably feel more tight.
Ravi Ubha: No.
The pressure is very much off after Federer ended his French Open jinx, taking advantage of Rafael Nadal's early exit. He gets to play someone he's beaten 18 out of 20 times, so he'll be even more relaxed; versus guys like Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt and Nikolay Davydenko, Federer oozes confidence.
If Federer takes an early break lead, it'll be a routine three-setter.What does Roddick need to do to win?
Garber: As Boris Becker told ESPN, "Roddick needs to do just what he did in the semifinal -- he has to leave it all out there." Precisely. Roddick, who used to just blast away from the baseline and ride his serve, has become a more complete player under coach Larry Stefanki. He has a pretty decent slice, and against Andy Murray in the semifinals he came to net an astounding 75 times -- and won 48 of those points. Some of those followed less-than-average approach shots, but Murray, playing nervous, couldn't pull off the passing shots. Roddick will have to choose his forward-moving moments with more care against Federer. Oh, and Roddick needs to serve like he did against Murray, who might return serve better than Federer.
|Andy Roddick's big serve will be a factor in the final -- especially if the roof is closed.|
Tandon: Everything right. Serve out of his mind, return more aggressively than he usually does, and find a bit of inspiration in the tiebreakers.
Ubha: Serve like he's never done before, for one. Roddick did it against Andy Murray in the semifinals, registering a first-serve percentage of 75. If the percentage falls under 70, that won't be enough -- Federer will take advantage of the second serve in a way Murray couldn't. Roddick also has to come to the net behind quality, rather than nothing. Approaches without pace or depth are no good.
Of course, Federer needs to have an off day, the kind he had in Miami last year.
Who will win?
Garber: The two men have played 20 times and Federer has won 18. The case would seem to be closed. "I don't know how much my great record I have against Roddick would come into play," Federer said. "I'm not sure. It starts from zero." Really? Roddick is admittedly thrilled to be in the final. He looked stunned after he beat Murray on Friday and actually fell to his knees on his way to the locker room. He has played Federer twice in this event, in 2004 and 2005, and lost six of seven sets, but competed extremely well. One gets the idea that, with No. 15 on the line for Federer, it will go the same way.
Federer, in four.
Tandon: Federer. The matchup is a bad one for Roddick, and it's tough to see how he can win three sets the way Federer has been playing. But heck, that's what I thought against Murray.
The stars lined up nicely for Federer when Nadal pulled out due to lingering knee trouble, and he got more good news when Murray -- who beat Federer in each of their past four meetings -- departed.
Federer has had a tough draw, so he won't be short of match sharpness, either. He looked mighty impressive in a straight-sets win over Tommy Haas in the semis, not conceding a break point.