Roger Federer wins Record-Breaking 8th Wimbledon Title
In the end, Roger Federer’s record eighth Wimbledon singles title looked easy compared with some of the marathon finals he has had to win on this same patch of London grass.
But a race should not be judged only by the last hurdle. Federer had to get so many tough calls right through the years to get to his 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 rout of the ailing and forlorn Marin Cilic on Sunday, to this Wimbledon where Federer became the oldest men’s champion in the Open era and the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to sweep through the draw without dropping a set.
“You go through these waves of highs and lows and try to navigate through, and it’s not always simple,” Federer, 35, said in an interview as he walked between television studios in the corridors of the All England Club. “It’s actually quite difficult with the amount of things in my life. You’ve got to still stay focused at the end of the day, and I was able to do that.”
Unlike many elite athletes, Federer had a long-term plan from an early age to preserve his body, paying close attention to fitness with the trainer Pierre Paganini. Unlike many young tennis stars, Federer avoided overplaying, managing his schedule sagaciously.
But then he also had the exceptional talent, the technique and the internal drive and love of the process to get him through stormy weather. For now, 2017 has been nothing but blue skies and island breezes, a late-career joy ride that is all the more remarkable for surpassing Federer’s own expectations.
He has played two Grand Slam events, the Australian Open and Wimbledon, and won them both, increasing his record total of major men’s singles titles to 19.
Two of his biggest rivals, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, have unexpectedly faded, while Federer has continued to perform in Technicolor. This year he has a 31-2 record, including an 9-0 mark against top-10 players. He is 17-5 in tiebreakers, reflecting his seize-the-key-moment approach.
He is still ripping his backhand; still finding the corners of the box with his serve (he was not broken on Sunday); and, perhaps most important, still covering the court like a younger version of himself.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to run through top-10 players the way I am, win all these breakers, win all these big moments,” said Federer, who will turn 36 next month. “This is what’s made the difference for me. I’ve won all the big matches this year. It’s unbelievable.”
When Federer returned to the tour in January after a six-month layoff, he genuinely believed he would not peak until April. But having a fine chance at Wimbledon was always part of the plan and motivation for heading back on the road with his wife, Mirka, and their four young children.
Wimbledon was the big goal. It is Federer’s favorite tournament, the one that suits his elegant, attacking game and his personality best; the one where he made his first big career move by upsetting the seven-time champion Pete Sampras in the 2001 quarterfinals. It is also the one where Federer won his first Grand Slam singles title, in 2003.
On Sunday, he broke his tie with Sampras and the 19th-century player William Renshaw by becoming the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles titles. (Martina Navratilova won the women’s event nine times.)
Federer said the men’s record was not a number he had in his sights when he was young.
“Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my opinion,” he said. “If you do, I don’t know, you must have so much talent and parents and the coaches that push you from the age of 3 on, who think of you like a project. I was not that kid. I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basel, hoping to make a career on the tennis tour.”
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