HISTORY belongs to Roger Federer but hearts went to Scotland's Andy Murray after the most anticipated Wimbledon final in post-war tennis history.
Federer was all class as he ended Britain's great hope of breaking a 76-year drought of a home champion with a 4-6 7-5 6-3 6-4 victory. The championship ties Federer with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon crowns in the Open Era.
"It equals me with Pete Sampras, who's my hero, so it feels amazing," said Federer, whose last Wimbledon title was in 2009 and was without a major since the 2010 Australian Open.
The Swiss great also claimed his 17th major title, extending his record to three more than Sampras (14) and his closest active rival Rafael Nadal (11).
Federer, who turns 31 in August, is just the third man over 30 to win Wimbledon following Rod Laver in 1969 and Arthur Ashe in 1975.
He also regains the world No.1 ranking - the first 30-plus player since Andre Agassi, then 33, to reach top spot in 2003. Federer will overtake Sampras with the record number of 286 weeks at No.1.
"It's a magical moment in my career," said Federer, well aware of his place in history and the former greats including Laver watching on from the Royal Box. "My seventh one here, my 17th major, my world No.1 ranking back, my family being here - it's an amazing moment."
For his vanquished opponent, Federer hopes the four-time major runner-up, who carried the expectations of a nation, one day gets his chance.
"He was playing fantastic," Federer said of Murray. "It's a pity for him of course but I'm sure he's going to win one."
Murray, emotionally overcome during the on-court presentation, made several false starts before showing good humour and humility in a difficult situation. "Getting closer," he said.
"I was getting asked the other day - this is your best chance, you know Roger is 30 now. He's not bad for a 30-year-old. He played a great tournament and showed what fight he has left in him. Congratulations, you deserve it.
"Everybody talks about the pressure of playing at Wimbledon - how tough it is but it's not the people watching, they make it so much easier. The support has been incredible."
Despite the strong support from the 15,000 crowd on Centre Court, thousands on Murray Mound and on the grounds of the All England Club, and the expected 20 million viewers across Britain, their man fell agonisingly short despite getting off to the perfect start.
But as much as Dunblane's favourite son was being embraced by an adoring Kingdom, the home court advantage went to the record eight-time Wimbledon finalist on the opposite side of the net.
"I feel better here (at Wimbledon) than anywhere else," Federer said. "I don't know why, it's just a unique and special place."
With the match firmly in the balance at one-set all and 1-1, rain forced the players off for 40 minutes. Federer had momentum after winning the second set but the delay meant the roof was closed and that did no harm to his chances.
In a match-changing sixth game of the third set, which lasted 20 minutes and 26 points, Murray took three tumbles to the ground, surrendered a 40-0 lead and Federer broke on a sixth break point for a 4-2 lead.
A ninth ace in the ninth game gave Federer the third set 6-3. A 12th ace in the 10th game of the fourth set took Federer to two match points, and he sealed the win on the second and fell to the hallowed ground as Murray's forehand went long.
And thus Federer's hallowed name is etched on the hallowed trophy once more.
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