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. Rays blow lead in ninth, lose in 10 to Rangers (w/video)

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — Rays manager Kevin Cash liked the way Alex Cobb was competing Friday night. He liked the way the hard contact made by the Rangers batters went away after the second or third inning. So as the game headed toward the ninth, there was no doubt in Cash's mind that sending Cobb back to the mound was …

    Rays starter Alex Cobb can hardly believe what just happened as he leaves the game in the ninth after allowing a leadoff double then a tying two-run homer to the Rangers’ Shin-Soo Choo.
  2. Rays journal: Steven Souza Jr. gets extra day off to let hip heal

    The Heater

    ST. PETERSBURG — RF Steven Souza Jr. ran in rightfield before batting practice under the watchful gaze of the Rays training staff and manager Kevin Cash. Afterward, Souza told Cash he could use one more day of rest before playing on the left hip he strained Wednesday in Oakland.

    Tampa Bay Rays second baseman Brad Miller (13) gets a hug from right fielder Steven Souza Jr. (20) after his solo home run in the fourth inning of the game between the Texas Rangers and the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla. on Friday, July 21, 2017.
  3. Rays vs. Rangers, 7:10 p.m. Saturday, Tropicana Field

    The Heater

    Tonight: vs. Rangers

    7:10, Tropicana Field

    TV/radio: FS1; 620-AM, 680-AM (Spanish)

  4. Roger Mooney's takeaways from Friday's Rays-Rangers game

    The Heater

    Looks like LF Corey Dickerson is coming out of his funk at the plate — .186 average in past 16 games entering Friday. He had two hits Wednesday in Oakland and three hits Friday against the Rangers. Okay, one was an infield hit that bounced high in front of the plate, but the other was a long home run to …

  5. History shows Ole Miss upheaval tough to overcome

    College

    After Mississippi football coach Hugh Freeze resigned Thursday, with the opener six weeks away, offensive line coach Matt Luke is being thrown into an interim head coaching position. He will try to save a season that already had been scarred by a self-imposed bowl ban for NCAA violations.

    After coach Jim Tressel resigned, Ohio State went 6-7, including a loss to Florida in the Gator Bowl, in 2011.