Roger Federer's great tapestry of Grand Slam wins received a major challenge with the arrival of Rafael Nadal. Nevertheless, the Swiss Masestro continued to stockpile championships that are revered and admired by supporters and tennis fans.
This is part two of two that completes a memorable look at each of Federer's Grand Slam victories. This slideshow is a journey through the final eight Grand Slam victories he won from 2006-2010.
This slideshow is a tribute to each of his 16 Grand Slam finals wins, highlighting the most important moment for each match.
It will also grade each Slam win by how memorable it will be to future generations. Which matches will best be remembered twenty years from now. Why?
The grades will not be determined simply by the quality of the match, but will also include the quality and appeal of the opponent, milestones and transitional moments. Federer brings so much star power to each match, none of them will receive a grade below a "C."
Since this is a subjective list to every observer, readers are invited to contribute their own memories or arguments for what made each of these matches so memorable.
Note: The two slideshows chronologically travel through each of Federer's Grand Slam wins. The last slide of part two, will list the Slams by their assigned grade.
At the close of the first set, Federer had done everything to overwhelm Andy Roddick. He even hit a "cross-court backhand passing shot that dipped as though attached to a string," as described by CBS Sportsline.com.
Then, Federer unleashed a forehand winner off a Roddick serve that was clocked at 142 mph.
Roddick fought gamely, took chances, tried to come in, and did his best to impersonate the game and grit of coach Jimmy Connors, but it was never enough. Federer had over twice as many winners (69-33) as Roddick.
Twenty Years From Now: B+
It was a beautiful display of Roger Federer at his athletic and professional peak. His momentum and talent seemed to be at a tennis pinnacle never seen before or since.
The hard-hitting Fernando Gonzalez had broken Federer in the ninth game and had set points for 6-4. It would be the highlight of Gonzalez's career before the turn of the worm.
How many players have been denied by the Fed-Express? It's still important to think about and respect the efforts every one of his opponents made. They all battled hard, but only seldom could overcome Federer's greatness.
Federer did not drop a single set the entire Australian fortnight.
Twenty Years From Now: C-
Unfortunately, Gonzalez will be just a name in the records of Federer's conquests. Like many of Federer's opponents, their best performance just came at the wrong time.
Rafael Nadal had all the momentum following a dominating 6-2 fourth set win. If he could have split one of the earlier tie-breaker sets, he may have already realized his Wimbledon title.
Then at 2-2 and 15-40 on Federer's serve, Nadal could not control a point.
Was it a matter of Federer's brilliance winning out? Did Nadal just not have enough, or was it his knee—which had been treated in the fourth set?
There were several highlights and memories to this match, and Federer and Nadal fans surely have their own kinds of memories and perspectives.
Twenty Years From Now: A+
This was was one of the greatest matches and Grand Slam finals of all time. Neither player won two sets in a row, and it contained tie-breakers, spirited comebacks, rain, injury, and awesome shotmaking.
Unbelievably, the 2008 Final won by Nadal would go on to be considered an even greater match to many observers, but the 2007 Final might have been better.
The match was more competitive than the final line indicates. Young Novak Djokovic flashed hard-hitting groundstrokes that would eventually come to define his own championship run.
He even had set points in the first two sets, but Federer dominated the important ones.
In the first set tie-breaker, Federer won six of seven points with winners. Four of these were service winners. The penultimate point was Federer's smoking in-and-out forehand winner.
“My next book is going to be called, '7 Set Points,'" Djokovic joked.
Twenty Years From Now: B
It was an interesting match from the standpoint of introducing another future star, and Federer or Djokovic fans may review this video to glimpse a time that would be radically different four years later.
At this point, Federer was 12-2 in Grand Slam finals, and had reached the end of his great peak. It seemed inconceivable that a year would pass before he would win another Slam.
It may have seemed routine, judging by the line, but it was mostly a relief to Federer and his concerned fans. He out-powered Murray 36-16 in winners and finished 31 of 44 points at the net.
The second set was the tipping point. At 2-2 and 0-40 on Federer's serve, Murray missed a backhand on a 14-stroke rally. Replay showed that Federer missed on one of the earlier strokes, and the break would go up in smoke with Murray's chance.
Twenty Years From Now: C
It was a tough start to Murray's bid for Grand Slams, and the only Grand Slam win for Federer in 2008.
Federer won his fifth straight U.S. Open to match his streak of five at Wimbledon one year earlier. He is the only player to accomplish this.
It was also the last time Federer won the U.S. Open.
The greatest moment of this day occurred immediately after the final point. Federer sank to his knees and shouted off the past six years of French Open frustration through drizzling rain and unabashed tears.
Yes, the opponent was not Rafael Nadal, but a French Open title is never cheap.
Federer showed that he truly was the second greatest clay-court player of his generation by employing his variety of shot-making, including great serves and drop shots.
"Maybe my greatest victory, or certainly the one that takes the most pressure off my shoulders" said Federer immediately after the match, reported by Howard Fendrich.
Twenty Years From Now: A-
It will always be remembered and celebrated for its meaning, not for the match. A fan would have to understand the pain and heartbreak Federer had experienced at Roland Garros, by following the years prior to 2009, in order to appreciate the magnitude of this triumph.
This also ran his Grand Slam record to 14, tied with Pete Sampras, and allowed him to join Andre Agassi in winning the career Grand Slam.
Somehow, someway, he had arrived at 15-14 in the fifth set without breaking Roddick's serve a single time the entire match. Two forehand errors by Roddick, and Federer had escaped in a manner that would have demeaned Houdini.
Roddick fans will most remember their hero with a 6-2 tie-breaker advantage, a single point from going up two sets to zero.
It all disappeared with the kind of agony that is found in some demented opera. The final set point was a missed back-hand volley in the open court.
Twenty Years From Now: A
Three straight years of Wimbledon classics featured Federer at its center. He could have finished 3-0 or 0-3, but was able to take two of those matches. His resilience and fight were on display, on a day he was not at his best against a career performance from Roddick.
Andy Murray picked up his game and fought hard, but fell short 13-11 in the tie-breaker, and afterwards had to fight back tears.
"I can cry like Roger. It's just a shame I can't play like him," Murray said through the AP, via The Seattle Times.
It did feature a lot of creative shots between the two well-rounded stars. There were several slice backhands from each player, and mixes of volleys and drop shots. Federer's forehand was the real difference, picking up 40 of his 46 winners.
Twenty Years From Now: C+
By February 2010, Federer had nearly won four Grand Slam titles in a row. Rafael Nadal seemed to be in limbo and Novak Djokovic had not yet arrived as a superstar. It actually felt as if Federer could win another few Grand Slams. Could he get to twenty?
Australian Open 2010 was not very memorable, unless it turns out to be Federer's last Grand Slam victory.
Here are the graded results to each Grand Slam. Since it's a subjective list, matches that received the same grade will still be prioritized by its quality. No ties.
1. (A+) 2007 Wimbledon vs. Rafael Nadal
2. (A) 2009 Wimbledon vs. Andy Roddick
3. (A) 2005 U.S. Open vs. Andre Agassi
4. (A-) 2009 French Open vs. Robin Soderling
5. (A-) 2004 Wimbledon vs. Andy Roddick
6. (B+) 2006 Wimbledon vs. Rafael Nadal
7. (B+) 2006 U.S. Open vs. Andy Roddick
8. (B) 2007 U.S. Open vs. Novak Djokovic
9. (B) 2004 U.S. Open vs. Lleyton Hewitt
10. (B-) 2003 Wimbledon vs. Mark Philippoussis
11. (C+) 2010 Australian Open vs. Andy Murray
12. (C+) 2004 Australian Open vs. Marat Safin
13. (C+) 2005 Wimbledon vs. Andy Roddick
14. (C) 2008 U.S. Open vs. Andy Murray
15. (C) 2006 Australian Open vs. Marcos Baghdatis
16. (C-) 2007 Australian Open vs. Fernando Gonzalez