"I always knew I had it in my hand. The question is [did] I have it in my mind and in my legs," Federer told reporters after extending his record to 16 Grand Slams, two more than Sampras and a whopping 10 more than nearest current challenger Rafa Nadal.

"That's something I had to work extremely hard at. Now I feel like obviously I'm being pushed a great deal by the new generation coming up.

"I think that's also thanks to guys like Murray.

"They've made me a better player, because I think this has been one of my finest performances, you know, in a long time, or maybe forever."

The imperious win left his opponent choking back sobs, having missed five set points in an epic third-set tiebreaker.

Receiving his runner-up prize, Murray's voice faltered and he blinked away tears as he apologised to the fans at home for not bringing home the first British trophy in men's tennis majors in 74 years.

"I got great support back home the last couple of weeks. I'm sorry I couldn't do it for you tonight but ..."

He paused to gather himself, then joked: "I can cry like Roger, it's just a shame I can't play like him."