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Roger Federer wins 7th Wimbledon title

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates winning the men's

Roger Federer of Switzerland celebrates winning the men's singles final against Andy Murray of Britain at the All England Lawn Tennis Championships at Wimbledon, England. (July 8, 2012) Credit: AP

WIMBLEDON, England -- It wasn't the weight of a nation that kept Andy Murray from ending 76 years of British futility at Wimbledon, it was the unstoppable brilliance of Roger Federer.

On a day when for the first time in the 126-year-old tournament officials reluctantly played a final -- or at least part of it -- under a roof, Federer made history of his own, winning the All England Lawn Tennis Championships a record-tying seventh time.

A month from his 31st birthday, Federer, who not long ago was said to have slipped from the top of the game, beat Murray, the Scot, 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, Sunday in a match so momentous -- no Brit had won since Fred Perry in 1936 -- politicians, royalty and sports stars were in attendance at Centre Court.

Although rumors Queen Elizabeth might appear at Wimbledon for the first time since 1977 proved unfounded, the crowd of more than 14,000 included Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge; her sister, Pippa Middleton; Prime Minister David Cameron and soccer's David Beckham and his wife, the model and former Spice Girl, Victoria.

They and virtually everyone in the country were rooting fervently for the 25-year-old Murray to end the victory drought.

But Federer, recovering from a slow start when he was broken in the first game, showed the athletic genius that has enabled him to tie the Wimbledon men's victory mark held jointly by William Renshaw of the 1880s and Pete Sampras of the 1990s.

With his first major singles victory in 2 ½ years, the Swiss maestro increased his major victory record to 17 and also regained the No. 1 spot in the world rankings. Federer is 17-7 in Grand Slam finals, including 7-1 at Wimbledon. Murray dropped to 0-4 in major finals, with three of those losses against Federer.

It was a sad result for Murray, who weeped openly in his postmatch comments. Millions of Brits watched on TV while hundreds of them squatted on what is known as Henman Hill, or now Murray Mount, on the grounds simply to watch the match on a giant TV screen.

When in the third set sunshine turned to rain, Wimbledon officials, after a delay, decided to close the roof first introduced in 2009. Play was delayed 40 minutes.

With the roof closed, Federer elevated his game. "Yeah,'' Murray said, "after the break, he was more aggressive, because he has excellent timing, so when there's no wind or anything, he times the ball very well.''

It was on court after the final point, when he was interviewed by a TV hostess, that Murray broke down. "Getting closer,'' he sobbed after his fourth major singles final.

Murray had received tweets from LeBron James pointing out how difficult it is to win that first title. Federer's advice came from his friend Tiger Woods, who Federer said, "was very pumped up for me.''

Federer was pumped up for himself. He's the first 30-or-older to win the men's title since Arthur Ashe in 1975. Of course another 30, Serena Williams, won the women's title Saturday. In '75, there also were two 30-year-old winners, Ashe and Billie Jean King.

"It feels great to be back here a winner,'' said Federer, who lost in the quarterfinals in 2010 and 2011. "This may be the best I played in a Slam final. It's amazing. It equals me with Pete Sampras, who's my hero."

This was Federer's first Slam victory with Paul Annacone, the former Long Islander, as his coach. Annacone also coached Sampras later in his career.

"I never stopped believing," Federer said. "It's all worked out. This is a magical moment.''

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