Federer a man apart after French triumph

Swiss hails greatest ever victory as he completes his collection of Grand Slams

Roger Federer's quest to win the French Open, the only Grand Slam title which had eluded him, finally ended when he beat Robin Soderling here in last night's final. In claiming his 14th Grand Slam victory, which equals Pete Sampras's all-time record, the 27-year-old Swiss also became only the sixth man to win all four of the game's major crowns.

"It's maybe my greatest victory, or certainly the one that removes the most pressure off my shoulders," Federer said after his 6-1, 7-6, 6-4 triumph. "I think that now and until the end of my career I can really play with my mind at peace and no longer hear that I've never won Roland Garros."

Having lost to Rafael Nadal in the three previous finals, Federer needed less than two hours to beat Soderling, a 24-year-old Swede who had never previously gone beyond the third round of a Grand Slam tournament. The match was interrupted early in the second set by an intruder who taunted Federer before being rugby-tackled by a security guard.

Federer, who said the incident was "a touch scary", admitted that he had felt nervous throughout the match. "It was very hard mentally for me because my mind was always wondering: 'What if? What if I win this tournament? What does that mean? What will I possibly say?' You can't help it, but you have to tell yourself that once you win you'll get all the time to think about all these things.

"I was very nervous at the beginning of the third set because I realised how close I was. You can imagine how difficult the last game was. It was almost unplayable for me because I was just hoping to serve some good serves and hoping that he was going to make four errors. It was that bad."

Federer said that the years of waiting to win here had made victory all the more special. "It was only in the last few years that I realised what a great player I could actually become if I won the French Open," he said. "I started to love this city and the people and the centre court, whereas in the beginning I had such a hard time getting used to the conditions here."

He added: "I knew that the day Rafa wouldn't be in the final I would be there and I would win. I always knew that and I believed in it. That's exactly what happened." Soderling, who never recaptured his form of the previous week, was gracious in defeat. "I've never played anyone playing that fast," he said. "He doesn't have any weaknesses at all. He really deserves to be called the best player of all time."

Sampras, who watched the match at his home in Los Angeles, said he was happy for Federer. "What he's done over the past five years has never, ever been done – and probably will never, ever happen again," he said. "Regardless if he won there or not, he goes down as the greatest ever. This just confirms it." Nadal said that he would be sending Federer a congratulatory text message "because he deserves the title the most".

News
people'It can last and it's terrifying'
Sport
Danny Welbeck's Manchester United future is in doubt
footballStriker in talks over £17m move from Manchester United
Sport
Louis van Gaal, Radamel Falcao, Arturo Vidal, Mats Hummels and Javier Hernandez
footballFalcao, Hernandez, Welbeck and every deal live as it happens
Sport
footballFeaturing Bart Simpson
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
Kelly Brook
peopleA spokesperson said the support group was 'extremely disappointed'
News
The five geckos were launched into space to find out about the effects of weightlessness on the creatures’ sex lives
i100
Sport
Andy Murray celebrates a shot while playing Jo-Wilfried Tsonga
TennisWin sets up blockbuster US Open quarter-final against Djokovic
Life and Style
techIf those brochure kitchens look a little too perfect to be true, well, that’s probably because they are
Arts and Entertainment
Alex Kapranos of Franz Ferdinand performs live
music Pro-independence show to take place four days before vote
News
news Video - hailed as 'most original' since Benedict Cumberbatch's
News
i100
Life and Style
The longer David Sedaris had his Fitbit, the further afield his walks took him through the West Sussex countryside
lifeDavid Sedaris: What I learnt from my fitness tracker about the world
Arts and Entertainment
Word master: Self holds up a copy of his novel ‘Umbrella’
boksUnlike 'talented mediocrity' George Orwell, you must approach this writer dictionary in hand
News
i100
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Alexander Fury: The designer names to look for at fashion week this season

The big names to look for this fashion week

This week, designers begin to show their spring 2015 collections in New York
Will Self: 'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

'I like Orwell's writing as much as the next talented mediocrity'

Will Self takes aim at Orwell's rules for writing plain English
Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Meet Afghanistan's middle-class paint-ballers

Toy guns proving a popular diversion in a country flooded with the real thing
Al Pacino wows Venice

Al Pacino wows Venice

Ham among the brilliance as actor premieres two films at festival
Neil Lawson Baker interview: ‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.

Neil Lawson Baker interview

‘I’ve gained so much from art. It’s only right to give something back’.
The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

The other Mugabe who is lining up for the Zimbabwean presidency

Wife of President Robert Mugabe appears to have her sights set on succeeding her husband
The model of a gadget launch: Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed

The model for a gadget launch

Cultivate an atmosphere of mystery and excitement to sell stuff people didn't realise they needed
Alice Roberts: She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

She's done pretty well, for a boffin without a beard

Alice Roberts talks about her new book on evolution - and why her early TV work drew flak from (mostly male) colleagues
Get well soon, Joan Rivers - an inspiration, whether she likes it or not

Get well soon, Joan Rivers

She is awful. But she's also wonderful, not in spite of but because of the fact she's forever saying appalling things, argues Ellen E Jones
Doctor Who Into the Dalek review: A classic sci-fi adventure with all the spectacle of a blockbuster

A fresh take on an old foe

Doctor Who Into the Dalek more than compensated for last week's nonsensical offering
Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

Fashion walks away from the celebrity runway show

As the collections start, fashion editor Alexander Fury finds video and the internet are proving more attractive
Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy

Meet the stars of TV's Wolf Hall...

... and it's not the cast of the Tudor trilogy
Weekend at the Asylum: Europe's biggest steampunk convention heads to Lincoln

Europe's biggest steampunk convention

Jake Wallis Simons discovers how Victorian ray guns and the martial art of biscuit dunking are precisely what the 21st century needs
Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Don't swallow the tripe – a user's guide to weasel words

Lying is dangerous and unnecessary. A new book explains the strategies needed to avoid it. John Rentoul on the art of 'uncommunication'
Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough? Was the beloved thespian the last of the cross-generation stars?

Daddy, who was Richard Attenborough?

The atomisation of culture means that few of those we regard as stars are universally loved any more, says DJ Taylor