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Federer shows his range

Roger Federer, cheering his title victory over Andy Murray, says he gave some of his best performances in the year’s first major.

Associated Press

Roger Federer, cheering his title victory over Andy Murray, says he gave some of his best performances in the year’s first major.

MELBOURNE, Australia — Roger Federer experienced the spectrum of emotions in the past two Australian Opens.

A year ago he sobbed on the court after losing a thrilling five-set final. Sunday, Federer was all smiles after rather easily beating Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11-9) for a fourth championship in Melbourne and 16th Grand Slam title.

"All of a sudden, it was over, and it hit me," Federer said. "It was very much a roller coaster."

Murray missed a chance to end a drought for British men at Grand Slam tournaments that stretches to 1936. Receiving his runnerup prize, his voice faltered and he blinked away tears as he apologized to his fans at home.

"I got great support back home the last couple of weeks. I'm sorry I couldn't do it for you (Sunday) but … ." Murray paused to gather himself, then joked: "I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him."

Behind him, Federer smiled.

"You're too good of a player not to win a Grand Slam, so don't worry about it," Federer said.

Federer became the first father to win a major singles title since 2003 (Andre Agassi, Australian Open). He also now can aim at a calendar-year Grand Slam, something no man has accomplished since 1969. Federer completed a career Grand Slam last year by winning the French Open.

"I'm over the moon winning this again," Federer, 28, said. "I played some of my best tennis in my life these last two weeks. It's also very special, the first Grand Slam as a father."

Last year Federer had recently discovered he was to become the father of twins when he lost the Australian Open final in five wrenching sets to rival Rafael Nadal, then broke down during the presentation.

Compounding his emotions: He missed a chance to tie Pete Sampras' then-record of 14 Grand Slam singles titles. But he matched that mark a few months later at the French Open. Then he regained his Wimbledon crown for major No. 15.

In his first major after his twin daughters were born, he was upset in the U.S. Open final by Juan Martin del Potro.

This time Federer was in control of the action pretty much throughout against Murray, a 22-year-old from Scotland playing in his second Grand Slam final. His first was also against Federer, at the 2008 U.S. Open, and also a three-set loss.

"It's not an easy thing to do to win your first Grand Slam," Federer said.

Federer, who also won the Australian Open titles in 2004 and 2006-07, credited the likes of Murray and Nadal for helping him lift his game.

"I always knew I had it in my hand. The question is, do I have it in my mind and in my legs?" he said. "That's something I had to work extremely hard at.

"Now I feel like obviously I'm being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up. They've made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances in a long time, or maybe forever."

Murray said he planned to take some time off to rest and assess his tennis priorities. He also gave himself credit for his achievements.

"Getting to a second Slam final, it's a great achievement," Murray said. "So I've got to be proud of that."

But he wants more.

"I'm hungry to win (a Grand Slam)," he said. "I worked really, really hard to try to do it and give myself the opportunity. So far it's not been good enough. But I'm sure one day it will be."

fast facts

Roger Federer

by the numbers

16 Grand Slam

titles

22 Appearances in Grand Slam finals, including in 18 of the past 19

4 Australian Open titles, the fifth man to win at least that many

8 Consecutive years with a Grand Slam singles title win, matched only by Bjorn Borg (1974-81) and Pete Sampras (1993-2000)

Federer shows his range 01/31/10 [Last modified: Sunday, January 31, 2010 7:48pm]
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