Make us your home page
Instagram

Get the quickest, smartest news, analysis and photos from the Bucs game emailed to you shortly after the final whistle.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Roger Federer wins record eighth Wimbledon title

LONDON — After Roger Federer closed out a Wimbledon final that was more of a coronation than a contest with an ace, he sat in his changeover chair and wiped away tears.

That is when it hit him: His wait for record-breaking title No. 8 at the grasscourt major was over. Until then, Federer hadn't been focused on winning Wimbledon more than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877. All he had been concerned with, consumed with, was being healthy enough to compete at a high level and, he hoped, win a title, regardless of what the total count would be.

Capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set, Federer won his eighth Wimbledon title and 19th major championship overall by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in a mere 1 hour, 41 minutes Sunday.

"Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament. Will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Because of them, I think I became a better player, too," said Federer, who turns 36 next month and is the oldest male Wimbledon champion in the Open era, which began in 1968.

"To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me just because of all of that, really. It's that simple. … The tournament I played, not dropping a set, it's magical really."

His first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003 and was followed by others in 2004-07. He won again in '09 and '12. But then he lost finals in '14 and '15 to Novak Djokovic.

He couldn't be sure that another final, let alone a title, was possible a year ago, when he lost in the semifinals, then took the rest of 2016 off to let his surgically repaired left knee heal.

"It's been a long road," he said.

Federer had been tied at seven Wimbledon championships with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw. Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, when the previous year's winner advanced automatically to the final.

Federer's early play Sunday was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he has accomplished, he admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts to this day.

It was Federer who double faulted in his first two service games. And it was Federer who faced the initial break point, in the fourth game. But Cilic netted a return, beginning a run of 17 points in a row Federer won on his serve. He was never confronted with another break point.

Cilic said he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday and that affected his ability to move properly and summon the intimidating serves that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title, the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in the semifinals.

With Federer up 3-0 Sunday in the second set, Cilic cried while he was visited by a doctor and trainer. He said that was not so much a result of his foot's pain as the idea that he could not play well enough to present a challenge.

"Very tough emotionally," said Cilic, whose foot was retaped by a trainer after the second set. "I knew that I cannot give my best on the court."

Federer and wife Mirka's two sets of twins — boys, 3, in their light blue blazers; girls, 7, in their dresses — were in the guest box for the trophy ceremony. One son stuck a few fingers in his mouth until a sister grabbed his hand.

"They have no clue what's going on," Federer said about his boys. "They think it's probably a nice view and a nice playground. … One day, hopefully, they'll understand."

As for the girls, he said: "They enjoy to watch a little bit. They come for the finals, I guess."

When Dad is Roger Federer, you can wait until the last Sunday to show up. Federer is back to lording over the sport the way no man has.

By the numbers

From Roger Federer's title win over Marin Cilic:

2 Men to win Wimbledon without dropping a set in the Open era (from 1968) as Federer joins Bjorn Borg (1976).

3 Men to win at least two majors without dropping a set as Federer (Australian Open, 2007) joins Borg and Rafael Nadal.

6 Times Federer has won multiple majors in a calendar year, breaking a tie with Roy Emerson for most by a man.

8 Wimbledon singles titles for Federer, a men's record.

35 Age of Federer, the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open era, surpassing Arthur Ashe (31, 1975).

Source: ESPN, Times wires

Roger Federer wins record eighth Wimbledon title 07/16/17 [Last modified: Sunday, July 16, 2017 9:00pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Ole Miss football coach Hugh Freeze resigns over 'inappropriate conduct' (w/ video)

    College

    OXFORD, Miss. — Mississippi coach Hugh Freeze was at Jackson Country Club on Wednesday night, giving his yearly rah-rah speech about the Rebels overcoming adversity and getting ready for the college football season.

    If Hugh Freeze hadn’t resigned, Ole Miss says it would have fired him for violating his contract’s moral turpitude clause.
  2. Fennelly: With playoff chase in high gear, it's time for Rays to make a move

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG

    Thursday was an off-day for the Rays, who are coming off a solid western swing. I assume there was no rest for the tag-team Rays baseball brain trust of Matt Silverman, Erik Neander and Chaim Bloom, whose job it is to improve this team in advance of the trade deadline. They've done a good job …

    Evan Longoria is glad to see the Rangers coming to town: He’s batting .296 against them with 15 homers and 56 RBIs in 69 career games.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Friday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: Fox Sports Sun; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

    PORT CHARLOTTE, FL - FEBRUARY 18:  Alex Cobb #53 of the Tampa Bay Rays poses for a portrait during the Tampa Bay Rays photo day on February 18, 2017 at Charlotte Sports Park in Port Charlotte, Floida.  (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
  4. Good news for Rays on Steven Souza Jr. as MRI shows 'no damage' to hip

    Blogs

    The Rays got good news today on RF Steven Souza Jr., as an MRI showed "no damage" to his left hip.

    Steven Souza Jr. #20 of the Tampa Bay Rays holds his leg after hurting himself trying to steal second base in the first inning against the Oakland Athletics at Oakland Alameda Coliseum on July 19, 2017 in Oakland, California.
  5. Bucs raise prices for single tickets to marquee games

    Blogs

    The Bucs will have single-game tickets for 2017 home games on sale July 28, with a new wrinkle: the best games will cost more for fans.

    Bucs fans cheer Jameis Winston after a victory in their final home game of the 2016 season. Individual tickets for the Bucs' three most coveted home games (against the Patriots, Bears and Giants) will cost more in 2017.