Federer coasts to historic Wimbledon title: ‘It’s very special’

 

By Ros Satar, at Wimbledon

  • Roger Federer [3] def. Marin Cilic [7] 6-3 6-1 6-4
  • The tick-list of achievements from this single win listed below as history was made.
LONDON, UK – Roger Federer won his 19th Slam and a record eighth Wimbledon title after beating Marin Cilic in straight sets.

 

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The Match

It could have shown so much promise – if the best performer from Generation Lost Boys, Marin Cilic could have overcome a foot injury/blister that left his dream of a second Slam title in tatters. But instead we were treated to a slice of history that the lawns of SW19 will never see again, as Roger Federer stands alone with eight Wimbledon titles.

You had to wonder if the butterflies were ever stilled as Cilic came though a tough opening hold, warming up his serving arm, fine-tuning the forehand. Nerves abounded for both as Federer had an equally fought hold to deuce, but danger flashed up briefly with the first break point chance going to the rangy Croatian.

Federer wriggled free before putting the pressure firmly back on Cilic, getting his reward with the first break of the game. It was enough of a lead to keep the Croatian at bay, as he wrapped up the first set 6-3, before breaking early in the second set to leave Cilic in quite the precarious position.

There was more intrigue after Federer opened up a 3-0 lead, with the trainer in attendance while Cilic sobbed into a towel. There did not seem to be any treatment administered as he came out to serve to actually get on the board in the set.

From that point on it began to look like the ultimate fait accompli. Cilic seemingly stumbling over his feet and just not at the races with whatever was now ailing him.

After letting the second set slip by, the doctor was back out as an emotional looking Cilic was having his foot strapping removed. He looked to take a couple of anti-inflammatories, as his left foot was being re-taped.

Having at least regained a little of his composure, Cilic looked to be staying toe-to-toe with Federer at the start of the third set, but the end looked like it was going to come swiftly with a break for a 4-3 lead for Federer. There was very little hope as Federer closed out an historic win.

 

The Accolades

  • Federer’s fifth title in 2017
  • Stands alone with eight Wimbledon titles
  • Wins 19th Grand Slam
  • Oldest man in the Open Era to win the Wimbledon title
  • Third man in the Open Era to win without dropping a set (behind Bjorn Borg (1976 Wimbledon, 1978, 1980 Roland Garos), and Rafael Nadal (2008, 2010, 2017 Roland Garros). It is the second time Federer as done so (Australian Open 2007)

 

A World of Blister Pain

It was an understandably subdued Cilic who met the press, ready to be questioned about the blister that reduced him to tears. He explained:

“It was definitely one of the unfortunate days for me to happen. I got a really bad blister. Even I felt it in the match with Querrey in the semis. Fluid just came down under my callous in the foot.

“Every time I had to do a reaction fast, fast change of movement, I was unable to do that. Obviously was very tough emotionally because I know how much I went through last few months in preparation with everything. It was also tough because of my own team. They did so much for me.

“It was just a feeling that I knew that I cannot give my best on the court, that I cannot
give my best game and my best tennis, especially at this stage of my career, at such a big match.

“It was very, very difficult to deal with it. You know, that was the only thing. But otherwise, you know, it didn’t hurt so much that it was putting me in tears. It was just that feeling that I wasn’t able to give the best.”

 

Playing Wimbledon and winning Wimbledon are two separate things

Predictably there was a lot of admiration for Federer – take nothing away from the man, he has achieved a lot and this along with his win earlier in Australia after taking six months off. But he was quick to point out that taking time off, coming back to win and then win again after a mini-break was not a given in itself.

He said: “You could take 300 days off beforehand, just prepare for Wimbledon, put yourself in a freeze box, then you come out and train a bit, you know you’re not going to be injured.

“Playing Wimbledon and winning Wimbledon are two separate things. Don’t forget that. The problem with not playing, you take a chance on your health, too, in some ways, because matches actually are the real – what do you call it – the measuring stick.

“Because you can practice as good as you want, you can feel as good as you want in practice, but when the pressure comes in the matches, the nerves, the stomach, how you feel it, everything that happens like today before the match, you can’t recreate that in a practice.

“At some stage you have to play a minimum of matches, otherwise you’re just not going to be successful any more. That’s going to be the interesting thing moving forward, how I’m going to be able to manage that.”

This tournament now becomes synonymous with Federer. But for him the pull is the tournament itself.

“It is very special. Wimbledon was always my favourite tournament, will always be my favourite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here.
Because of them, I think I became a better player, too.

‘Number eight obviously means a lot to me because at that level, to be part of Wimbledon history, is truly amazing.”

Federer is not due to play again until the Rogers Cup in Montreal, 7-13 August.

 

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