Wimbledon Day 13 | Federer lifts trophy for an 8th time
The wait is over. Roger Federer has achieved the goal he set himself by winning the Wimbledon title for a record eighth time, pulling ahead of both Pete Sampras and William Renshaw. The first man in the history of The Championships to achieve that feat since the tournament was first played in 1877.
Holding the trophy now, after not dropping a set in the tournament, it's magical really. I can't believe it yet. It's too much. Roger Federer
It is a men’s record which as things stand, only he can break and the way he played during the fortnight and in his 6-3 6-1 6-4 victory over Marin Cilic, it wouldn’t surprise anyone if he did come back and do it all again next year.
He didn’t drop a set throughout the fortnight, emulating Bjorn Borg’s achievement in 1976.
It was also his 19th Grand Slam title but in many ways, it was a disappointment as Cilic was expected to give the former champion a good work out. A classic final was expected by many only for it to turn out to be a bit of damp squid!
For the first 20-minutes those expectation looked to being realised but once Federer grabbed the lead, he loosened up as his fluid shots found their range and kept Cilic, who was no doubt nervous from the outset, on his back foot.
The Croat, who was out to become only second man from his country to win the title – the first being his idol Goran Ivanisevic – attempted to be aggressive and play in the manner that had brought him to the final.
Both players started tentatively as they tried to settle in with Federer delivering double faults in both his opening service games. It was also the Swiss maestro who had to fend off the first break point of the final but Cilic netted his return.
That seemed to focus Federer’s mind for in the next game with Cilic reacting badly at losing that opportunity, suddenly committed three errors and dropped his serve as Federer took control following an exciting exchange starting with a Cilic drop shot which Federer returned on the angle. Cilic reached it but slipped and fell allowing Federer to put away a simple winner.
Federer broke again to take that set when Cilic double faulted at set point and immediately romped into 3-0 led in the second only for Cilic to sit down at the change-over, hold his towel to his face, and cry!
There was no visible sign of an injury but the trainer and doctor were called and his left foot was re-taped during a medical time-out when some pain killing pills were also supplied.
When the action resumed it was one-way traffic and while Cilic attempted to deploy his game plan in the third, it was clear his movements were restricted and after one hour and 41-minutes Federer struck his eighth ace to secure his win and a place in immortality, raising his arms in a victory salute.
On returning to his chair to await the presentation, you could see him wiping tears from his eyes as he waved to his wife Marika and four children in the Players’ Box.
Speaking to Sue Barker after receiving his trophy, he said: “Holding the trophy now, after not dropping a set in the tournament, it’s magical really. I can’t believe it yet. It’s too much.
“It’s disbelief I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in another final after last year. I had some tough ones in the finals, losing two against Novak (Djokovic).
“But I always believed. I kept on believing and dreaming I could get back.
“Here am I today with the eighth. It’s fantastic, if you keep believing you can go far in your life.”
Federer expressed sympathy at Cilic’s plight, adding: “It’s cruel sometimes. He fought well. He’s a hero, congrats on a wonderful tournament Marin.”
At 36 years of age, Federer is now the oldest champion and as such, he has managed his schedule accordingly in what has proved a remarkable fashion.
Having taken six months off in the second half of last year, he returned to win the Australian Open. He also decided not to play the clay court season and concentrate on preparing for Wimbledon, and it has proved a very rewarding decision.
Can he now go and add the US Open to and make this year an even more incredible one?
“I’ve got to take more time off! I’ll be gone again for the next six months! I don’t know if it will work as well again,” Federer said with a grin.
Meanwhile Cilic was left to rue what could have been had he not suffered what proved to be a bit of a debilitating blister.
“I gave my best. That’s all I could do,” Cilic said. “I never gave up when I started a match. That was my idea today. That’s what I did throughout my career.
“I had an amazing journey here. It was really tough today. I’m definitely hoping I will come back here (to the final) one more time.”
Meanwhile Federer, no doubt, will be setting new records.