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"Federer's tears for eternity"

Reuters

After four years on the edge of tennis's ultimate accomplishment and as many of disappointment, "King" Roger Federer has finally won all four Grand Slam titles.

This content was published on June 8, 2009 - 14:42

He made good on Sunday's French Open final with a straight sets victory over Sweden's Robin Söderling. It was his 14th win in a major tournament.

The victory confirmed what most of the followers and the sport's own legends had already agreed on: Federer is extraordinary.

Pete Sampras, the last player to win 14 major tournaments said the victory "just solidifies even more his place in history as the greatest player that ever played the game".

While Federer celebrated in Paris, Swiss headline writers and sports commentators were trying to figure out just how to put the national hero's accomplishment into words.

"Federer makes himself immortal," declared Der Bund, a Bern newspaper. Most of the country's dailies pointed out that Federer had joined a very small club of players to capture each of tennis's major tournaments.

Marcel Hauck, tennis correspondent for the Blick tabloid, the country's largest paid-for newspaper, said the Paris victory humanised Federer, who wiped tears from his eyes at the moment of triumph.

"Your victory in Paris is not only exceptional because it was your first one there but because since Sunday, you are the best tennis player in history. It is worth so much because you had to suffer for it. Suffer, like normal mortals also must, for their own small victories."

The headline "Federer's tears for eternity" accompanied a close-up of the tennis player's face in the Blick.

Road to the top

Doris Henkel, writing in Zurich's Neue Zürcher Zeitung, said: "Naturally we can wonder how much Federer benefited from the early defeat of Rafael Nadal."

Even though many publications said Federer was playing on top form – clay is his weakest surface – he did not face a tough draw.

The long-limbed Swede with what Bud Collins of the Boston Globe described as a "minibeard" – the man who knocked out Nadal days earlier – had been seeded 23rd.

Indeed, Federer had only to beat José Acasuso, Paul-Henri Mathieu, Tommy Haas, Gael Monfils and Juan Martin Del Potro for a place in the final.

Nevertheless in the run-up to the final he gave his fans some heart-stopping moments as he dropped sets against four out of five of them.

Legacy

The French-language Le Temps newspaper attempted a link between Federer's win on clay and a different event on the sand of the Normandy beaches 65 years ago. It headlined its reports "Federer, the finest day," and "Federer, the liberator of Paris", a reference to the Allied landings in France which were commemorated this weekend.

The newspaper said the Swiss player has helped the nation – which traditionally dislikes those who are "different" – "to love people who stand out above the crowd, to encourage those who show rare talent".

The Tribune de Genève was also fulsome in its praise. It wrote: "Federer is the greatest in his world because he can touch those who don't belong to it."

"Federer can now rest in the pages of history," wrote Henkel of the Neue Zürcher Zeitung. "But he says that whenever the time comes for him to retire, he will be at peace with himself and his career. Since June 7, 2009 his task has been complete."

"A bit of your serenity would do us all good," said Hauck in the Blick.

Justin Häne, swissinfo.ch

International press

"Now a big Swiss cheese is anointed," wrote Bud Collins of the Boston Globe.

Collins called Federer's play "quick an punishing, diverse and damaging."

"Shouldn't Federer remember Söderling in his will?" he asks.

Writing in the Britain's Telegraph newspaper, Kevin Garside notes that Federer's "contemporaries argue that he is the best of all time. The more relevant question, with Wimbledon almost upon, asks whether Federer is the best today."

Garside notes Federer's tearful loss to Nadal in the Australian Open and says "we must await the outcome of his next encounter on grand slam turf with Nadal to understand its significance in the power struggle at the top of the men's game."

Federer might be the king of Switzerland and John Shifflett, an Idaho sports journalist, says the win "sparked debate about where he ranks."

Federer has won on every surface and Shifflett notes the player's 19 Grand Slam final appearances.

"It's hard to say anyone else is better," he concludes.

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