'Roger is a legend – and an icon too'

Roger Federer last night described winning his record 15th Grand Slam singles title as "an unbelievable moment", and his vanquished opponent, Andy Roddick, agreed he had lost to the greatest player ever.

"It was a crazy match, an unbelievable end and my head is still spinning," Federer said. "This could have gone on for a few more hours I think," he added. "It's an unbelievable moment in my career."

Pete Sampras, who had shared the record for most Grand Slam titles with Federer until yesterday, flew in from the United States overnight to watch the match from the Royal Box. Addressing him, Federer said: "Thanks very much for coming, I know it's a long way but you're a member, we like to see you here and it's such a pleasure to play in front of such great legends."

In return Sampras said: "Roger, he's a legend, now he's an icon." He added that he considers Federer the greatest ever. "I have to give it to him. The critics say [Rod] Laver, and [Rafael] Nadal has beaten him a few times at majors but he has won all the majors, he's going to win a few more here, so in my book he is."

Federer said of the record: "It feels amazing but this is not why I'm playing tennis, to break all sorts of different records, but it's definitely one of the greatest ones to have. But this doesn't mean we stop playing tennis. I want to keep enjoying tennis for many more years so I hope to come back here and play some good tennis in the future."

Federer's win also means he will regain the world No 1 ranking from the absent Nadal, who withdrew through injury. "I guess it's nice to have, but of course I'm aware that Rafa didn't play here," Federer said. "Injuries are part of the game but I'm happy I became number one in the world by winning this title because this is the biggest one there is and I love playing here.

"Things didn't look so good when I lost in the finals of the Australian Open [in January] but to come through and win Paris and now Wimbledon back to back, it's amazing."

Roddick paid tribute to Federer and apologised to his compatriot Sampras for being unable to prevent him losing his record. "Roger is a true champion and he deserves everything he gets," said Roddick, who has now lost three Wimbledon finals to Federer. "I tried, sorry Pete, I tried to hold him off."