London:Heartbroken Andy Roddick saluted Roger Federer's gladitorial, record-breaking Wimbledon performance which was appropriately witnessed by Hollywood hard man Russell Crowe.
Federer defeated Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (8/6), 7-6 (7/5), 3-6, 16-14 to win a sixth Wimbledon title and clinch a record 15th Grand Slam trophy in an epic Centre Court duel which lasted 4hr 16min.
It also featured, at 95 minutes, the longest deciding set in the history of men's finals here, a stunning afternoon's entertainment for a packed court where Crowe was joined by Woody Allen and Ben Stiller.
"He was having trouble picking up my serve today (Monday) for the first time ever," said Roddick who has now lost all of his three Wimbledon finals to Federer and whose career record against the champion reads two wins and 19 defeats. "But you didn't even get a sense that he was even really frustrated by it. He kind of stayed the course and just toughed it out.
"He gets a lot of credit for a lot of things, but not for how many matches he kind of digs deep and toughs out. He doesn't get a lot of credit for that because it looks easy to him a lot of the times. But he definitely stuck in there today (Monday)."
Federer had to stick it out against Roddick, a player who has breathed new life into his career here and proved his worthiness as a contender by knocking out home hope Andy Murray in the semi-finals.
He was in tears by the end, a result of knowing that he dropped serve just once but at the worst possible time - the last game of an enthralling clash. Ten times in the last set, the 26-year-old had to serve to stay in the match.
"Looking back it seems like a lot, but each time it was just a point, and then another one and then another one. I guess it added up after a while.
"But he served great. I didn't get a lot of looks at second serves. I felt like when we were in rallies for the last couple sets, I was actually doing all right and holding my own, if not more.
"He did what he had to. If he wouldn't have served as well, I'd probably be sitting here in a better mood." Roddick must now pick himself up for next weekend's Davis Cup quarter-finals where the United States travel to Croatia.
"I got nothing for you right now. I don't really want to think about that," said the American who was firm and direct when asked if he had just lost to the greatest player of all time.
"Yes," he said.