Eighth Wimbledon title leaves Roger Federer, 35, alone atop men’s list | tennis | Hindustan Times
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Eighth Wimbledon title leaves Roger Federer, 35, alone atop men’s list

Roger Federer secured his eighth Wimbledon title, making him the oldest champion in the modern era and has hushed up criticism that he is a fading force in men’s tennis.

tennis Updated: Jul 17, 2017 09:07 IST
Roger Federer has the most number of Wimbledon singles titles in history, going past the previous record held by Pete Sampras.
Roger Federer has the most number of Wimbledon singles titles in history, going past the previous record held by Pete Sampras.(AFP)

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 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 — qualities that are often underestimated. 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 singles titles to 19.

On Sunday, he broke his tie with Pete Sampras and 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.)

So much does indeed have to go just right to win eight titles at a tennis temple like the All England Club — to produce a player like Federer who is built to win pretty but also built to last.