Eager to defend the crown he won a year ago, Roger Federer was the player to beat at Wimbledon 2004, losing two sets on his way to the second trophy at the All England Club. In the final, Roger beat Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4 in two and a half hours, scoring one more break than Andy and sealing the deal to keep the trophy in his hands. The year before, Roger was too strong for Andy in the semi-finals, saving a set point in the first set and dominating in sets two and three. This time, he had to work a lot harder to secure the 14th consecutive win at the tennis cathedral and lift the second trophy. Roddick had his chances, creating 14 break opportunities, but converting just four while conceding five serves and finishing second despite doing his best. Almost nothing could separate them in the longest rallies, and Federer forged victory in the quickest exchanges of up to four strokes, scoring more winners and fewer unforced errors to emerge on top. Roddick played at a high level in the first set, earning a break in the third game and fending off four break opportunities in the next to build the lead and hold it to the end 6-4. 4-0 down in set number two, the American came back to level the score before Roger broke it for the third time at 6-5 to clinch the set and gain huge momentum. Roddick rallied again and opened a 4-2 lead in the third set before blowing a game point at 4-3 to bring Roger back into contention. The set went into a tie break and Federer won it 7-3 to take the lead. The Swiss fought hard in back-to-back service games in the fourth set to fend off six break opportunities and stay on the positive side of the scoreboard. After squandering his chances, Andy relented at 3-3, and Federer didn’t need a second invite, delivering two comfortable serving turns to seal the deal and celebrate the second Wimbledon title.
Woodbridge reflects on Roger Federer
In that context, Todd Woodbridge pointed out that Roger Federer is woefully short on match practice heading into SW19. The Aussie also believes Federer was hampered by the lack of crowds in Halle, given that he usually feeds off the support from fans. “His fitness is fine but he’s lacking match play,” Woodbridge said. “That time away from the game is not easy and in Halle, in his lead-in tournament, went out to Felix Auger-Aliassime, the young Canadian. He’ll be disappointed not getting more matches under his belt on the grass. The hardest part about Halle, absolutely zero crowds, and that’s not good for Roger,” the Aussie added. “He feeds off that and I think when he’s playing against opponents, they also feel that the crowd goes for him.”