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Page last updated at 01:58 GMT, Tuesday, 9 September 2008 02:58 UK

Federer thrilled with fifth title

Roger Federer
Federer won his first Grand Slam title since his victory in New York last year

Roger Federer said his fifth straight US Open title was all the more special as it came after he had lost the number one ranking in a difficult year.

The Swiss star beat Britain's Andy Murray 6-2 7-5 6-2 to become the first man in the Open era to win five consecutive US Open crowns.

It ensured Federer retained one of the three Slam titles he began 2008 with.

"To bounce back straightaway after losing the number one ranking, this is the best scenario ever," he said.

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Federer, 27, is the first man ever to win five straight titles at two different Grand Slam events, having matched his US feat at Wimbledon before losing to Rafael Nadal in this year's final.

"This was as big of a goal maybe this season, you know," he said.

"I mean, going for five US Opens is probably the last time ever in my career I'll have that opportunity, so to keep it alive and actually just keeping the streak like I did at Wimbledon is something I'm very, very happy about."

Despite his relatively straightforward win in Monday's final in New York, Federer was impressed by the progress Murray has made.

"I think he's improved a lot the last year or so," he said.

"I think he had a tough draw at the Australian Open, actually which would have put himself in an even better position for this year, but he drew (Jo-Wilfried) Tsonga I think first round, and that sort of kept him under the radar for a little bit.

"But I think winning Cincinnati and doing so well here again, and doing also I think well at Wimbledon, I think he's really picked his game up.

All sorts of crazy people started writing me and trying to reach me, telling me I need some help either mentally or physically

Roger Federer
"He's got many different opportunities to play any player, I think. That's what makes him dangerous. He's got the good slice, he can come to net, he can stay back, he can stay very far back.

"So he's got three different options, and not many players have that out there. For this reason you need to adapt a little bit on how he plays you.

"I think that's where I'm the best at in the game, is try to figure out how to beat the guy. I had a game plan going in, but then also had to adjust it throughout the match."

Federer pinpointed the Scot's fitness as a major area of improvement.

"I think he's got himself in better physical shape," he said. "So from that standpoint he's better than ever.

"I think with finals like this, he knows now what it sort of takes to get very far into a Grand Slam. I think it's something that's unusual.

"Once you get to the semis or finals, you're celebrating your first quarters, celebrating first semis and first final.

"It takes a toll on you emotionally as well, because all of a sudden there's all the attention you ever wanted, but what you really want to do is focus on getting the title.

"I think by putting yourself in those types of positions, giving yourself opportunities, he'll only get bigger. I always thought he was a big match player.

"You know, give him the biggest court in the world, he will have no problem handling it. I think that's what he's shown anyway throughout his career."

As for his own year, Federer admitted that winning the US Open made up for the disappointment of losing his Australian Open and Wimbledon titles, and getting thrashed by Nadal in Paris.

"I think the French Open loss was brutal, but I got over that one pretty easily, played great on the grass and had a really tough loss at Wimbledon which - you know, I was proud to be part of such a great match, but at the same time it just sort of made me sad not having won that great epic match.

"Maybe I was always dreaming about it and not winning it. I was always positive, you know.

"I lost quite a few matches I should have never lost, and they hurt. Now, getting the fifth US Open, it really means a lot to me."

And Federer revealed that the constant speculation about his form and suggestions that he had passed his peak did annoy him at times.

"I don't think it got to me, but I was aware of it," he said.

"I mean, I'm a bit disappointed. Sometimes to a point a bit annoyed, because all sorts of crazy people started writing me and trying to reach me, telling me I need some help either mentally or physically.

"You're laughing but it's the way it goes. People come out of the closet and think they can start helping me now. It's just a pain.

"For me, this sort of puts them to rest a little bit, and calms down the phones at my parents' a little bit, which I'm happy about."

see also
Reaction to the US Open final
09 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Murray v Federer as it happened
08 Sep 08 |  Tennis
US Open final photos
08 Sep 08 |  Tennis
Murray mania sweeps community
08 Sep 08 |  Tayside and Central
Tennis on the BBC
19 Jun 08 |  Tennis

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