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Federer wins Wimbledon

WIMBLEDON, England (AP) - When Wimbledon finally was won, the burden of expectations lifted, Roger Federer dropped to his knees, arms aloft. Then he rose and, walking off the court, put his hands to his face.

He sat in his courtside chair and began to sob.

These were tears of joy, certainly, but also tears of relief.

''There was pressure from all sides - also from myself. I wanted to do better in Slams,'' Federer said. ''I've always believed, but then in the end, when it happens, you don't think that it is possible. It's an absolute dream for me. I was always joking around when I was a boy: 'I'm going to win this.'''

That forecast was met and tremendous potential fulfilled with an all-around brilliant performance in the Wimbledon final Sunday against Mark Philippoussis, a 7-6 (5), 6-2, 7-6 (3) victory that gave Federer his first major title.

Federer was quite collected throughout the match, ripping returns on serves that made line judges, ball boys and spectators flinch. He laced passing shots by the 6-foot-4 Philippoussis, spun aces off lines and crafted crisp volleys.

It was all done with such aplomb that one might have guessed Federer didn't care about the outcome. But when it was over, Federer let go.

''He's a very emotional person, and that's nice for people to see,'' said coach Peter Lundgren, who also shed tears during the trophy ceremony. ''These guys are human.''

Still only 21, yet already for years considered a ''can't miss'' future champion, Federer felt pushed to perform. His 1998 Wimbledon junior title inspired some to sing praise, and those notes grew into a full-blown chorus after he ended seven-time champion Pete Sampras' 31-match winning streak at the All England Club in 2001.