4 hours
16 minutes
5 sets
77 games
50 aces

At the end of the longest match in the history of Grand Slam finals Roger Federer emerged not just as the winner, but also as the greatest player of all times. He surpassed Pete Sampras's record total of 14 grand slam titles – with the American in attendance to view his record finally go. He also reclaimed the No. 1 ranking he had surrendered last August to Nadal.

Earlier this year he defeated Robin Șderling to win the French Open Рthe grand slam title that had eluded him for more than 5 years. With this win, Roger moved into the exalted company of the men to have won all the Grand Slam titles.

Roger Federer has overcome the greatest obstacle in his way – History. History that filled him with last lap nerves has finally been conquered. Now that Federer has got rid of the weight of history, we may see him freed from the fear that he would fall short of his goal. He will now be able to play with total freedom, total confidence, and total certainty in his new role as the unquestioned champion of all champions. Moreover, with age on his side, he’s going to cover many more milestones in this astounding journey of his.

Federer has earned this. He has paid for his every triumph in the pain and suffering caused by a huge ambition — to be the best ever — and an implacable opponent over the years in Rafael Nadal. When Nadal beat him in the final of the Australian Open, Federer looked a broken man. Many critics wrote him off after his loss to Nadal and his subsequent losing of No.1 Title. His dreams were broken, but he was not heartbroken. One year from then and he has regained all that he had lost with his undaunted spirit. He has regained his aura of invincibility. This is not the first time resilient Federer has risen from the ashes. Shortly before his 21st birthday his mentor and coach Peter Carter died in a road accident. Federer was utterly distraught. At first, the quality of his tennis plunged even further, and yet he gradually emerged from his grief with a new resolve, his wondrous shot-making now complemented by a sense of purpose and, that most difficult of skills to acquire for sportsmen of an easy-going disposition, a killer instinct. Eleven months after Carter's death, he won his first Grand Slam event, Wimbledon, the most prestigious title of them all. And afterwards wept copiously, assailed by contrasting emotions of elation and sadness.

It has been a hard and bitter road at this championship alone. He has stuttered and faltered, played some truly ugly points, made some hideous unforced errors and played at times in a way that made his millions of supporters despair. But again and again, he found something more. That, every bit as much as his wonderful racket skill, is what Federer does best. He can raise his game and then raise it again. He has more raises than anyone else in history.
He has this quite extraordinary consistency, a testament to mental and physical strength, and above all, testament to the fact that tennis enthralls him. He is never bored by its triumphs nor is cowed down by its inevitable reverses.

What's remarkable is not just the degree and duration of his dominance, but the artistry with which it was achieved, and the grace and humanity that accompanied it.

Federer’s game is a thing of wonder and beauty, Magic and art. At his best moments Federer seems to be looking beyond victory to create a masterpiece. He has this elegant playing style coupled with brutal power and what we have is total tennis. Federer's versatility was epitomised by Jimmy Connors' statement: "In an era of specialists — you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist... or you're Roger Federer".
In the words of a popular sports columnist: If a mad scientist created a composite of the finest tennis players, it would perform like Federer: he has the extraordinary speed, agility and focus of Borg, the brilliant improvisational skills of John McEnroe, the overwhelming power of Sampras. But he also, almost dispiritingly for his opponents, has the friendly personality of, let's say, John Lloyd. When you cannot find a chink of vulnerability in your opponent on the tennis court, you can sometimes find some personal animus to light your fire. That tactic doesn't work with Federer.

Andy Roddick, when asked about what he respected most about Roger said "He's probably the most talented person ever to carry a racket around.The shots that he can come up with ... the way he's kind of become a totally complete player. But I think off the court, it [the respect] is huge. There have been a lot of good champions, but he's just classy. He is never high and mighty in the locker room or anything like that. He treats people with respect. Even if it's the locker room attendants or the people serving food, he is 'please' and 'thank you'. I think that's why he's so well-liked on tour. There's not a whole lot of animosity towards him, even though he has been that successful."

Taking Charles Dickens’s words into account: “He isn't a great man who makes every man feel small. But the real great man is the one who makes every man feel great”.

Federer certainly belongs to the second category.

A very Happy Birthday to my favourite sportsman and my idol.

PS: Title is from one of my favorite books "The Kite Runner". It may seem a little out of context over here, it's just there because i wanted to dedicate the line to him.