Federer fell at the last hurdle, beaten by Novak Djokovic 6-7(7)
6-4 7-6(4) 5-7 6-4 on Sunday in the tightest of thrilling finishes.
The seven-times champion threw everything at the Serbian top seed
after a tournament of sustained brilliance in which he dropped only
one service game until he reached the final.
With a record 17 grand slam titles to his name the 32-year-old had
little room to improve his game but with time catching up with him,
Federer had to find a way to end points sooner and reduce the
demands on his body.
The appointment of Swede Edberg, a former world number one and
six-times grand slam winner, as his coach in December last year
hinted he might adopt a more attacking strategy, a tactic that has
paid off after a difficult 2013.
"Stefan is clearly a piece of the puzzle," Federer, explaining how
he would find new ways to extend his glittering career, told
reporters after reaching his ninth final at the All England Club.
Last year Federer was beaten in the second round at Wimbledon, his
worst performance at the All England Club since 2002.
Claiming the title at grasscourt event Halle last month had
indicated the effectiveness of Federer's new strategy, a change the
Wimbledon champion acknowledged.
"He's coming to the net more often," Djokovic said of his opponent
who scored 44 points from the net during the final.
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"Those were particular changes in his game that I noticed before
coming to this match. I paid attention to it and I was ready for it.
"Sometimes he played incredible volleys. At 4-3 on breakpoint on
second serve he came in and played a half-volley winner. That's why
he has been winning so many grand slams, because he feels confident
to play these shots at the important time."
Djokovic has taken on Edberg's great serve-and-volley rival Boris
Becker as coach, but the German's love of the net has yet to rub off
on the Serb.
Federer holds the record of most Wimbledon men's titles, at seven,
with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw.
He plans another shot at making it eight next year, he told his
adoring fans on Center Court as he accepted the consolation trophy -
a modern-day champion trying to win in an old-fashioned way.
(Reporting By Sam Holden; editing by Clare Lovell)
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