Roger Federer came close to tennis perfection when he defeated Andy Roddick in straight sets to claim a third successive Wimbledon title yesterday.
The world No 1, from Switzerland, described his performance as "the best match I've ever played" and few here on Centre Court would have disagreed.
Federer, the top seed, won 6-2, 7-6, 6-4 to become one of only eight men to have won the men's singles title in three successive years.
"Today it seemed I was playing flawless, everything was working," Federer said. "I played a fantastic match, one of the best in my life. The most important tournament, even more than the US Open, so this is the best match I've ever played."
Roddick, who has lost to Federer in three successive Wimbledon tournaments, said that his rival is "as close to being unbeatable as there is in tennis".
Federer was anxious to exude humility but, on a day when he performed admirably, even he started to struggle.
"This was a very big match and tournament for me to get my fifth Grand Slam and third Wimbledon," he said. "I was pretty tense but after the first set I started to feel so good and so confident. Obviously for the next few years I will be a huge favourite for this tournament.
"During the match and during the rain delay I never felt I was actually playing. It was like I'm not living this correctly. It was a very strange feeling. It's going to take me days, weeks, months years, I don't know, to realise this one."
Roddick, the second seed, was magnanimous in defeat. "He is as close as there has been to unbeatable," Roddick said. "I felt I played decent and got straight-setted.
"He played head and shoulders above how he played last year. He hit 49 winners and 12 errors. You just have to sit back and say 'too good' sometimes. I hope he gets bored or something.
"I've loads of respect for him. I've told him 'I'd love to hate you, but you're really nice."'
Roddick, the fastest server in the world, also gave an insight into why Federer currently is so dominant.
"The thing that separates him is that he is the most physically gifted player and he has become so solid mentally," Roddick said. "He's become a mental force. Put those two together and it's a tough combination.
"If he keeps up this level I don't see too many people in history who would beat him. He's beaten the best players in finals 21 times. No-one's ever done that."
Roddick, who has defeated Federer only once in their past ten matches, also said that he was proud to be playing in the same era as Federer and added he would strive to improve to build on his one grand-slam title.
"I'm not going to beat myself up about getting to the final and doing better than 126 other guys and losing to a guy that everybody is debating whether he's the best of all-time or not," Roddick said.
"I'm not going to ruin what I've accomplished just because he was better than me. I want another crack at him until my record is 1-31. I still want to go against him again. You want to compete against the best. He's the measuring stick, so you kind of know where you are and where you go. I'd love to keep playing him." Federer appears surprised that he is dominating men's tennis but, as he sees it, he should have done even better.
"Maybe I lost too many matches I should have won when I was younger," he said. "Now it's turned around for me. Now I'm winning matches I should lose sometimes.
"Those who followed me since I was a youngster knew I had the potential but I don't think anyone would ever have thought it would be this extreme, basically dominating the game, winning three Wimbledons.
"One, you think, that's fantastic. When you end up winning three, you're really starting to wonder 'what have I done right in my career that this has happened to me?' I'm very, very proud."