Wimbledon 2017: Title 19 for Roger Federer at SW 19. Fedex is unstoppable

For the record, the tennis star won the title without losing a set, a feat which had been last achieved by Bjorn Borg in the wooden racquet age!

 |  Gloves Off  |  4-minute read |   16-07-2017
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Who says men don't cry. On Sunday, at Wimbledon's Centre Court, both Roger Federer and Marin Cilic were emotional. If one man wept in pain and agony midway through the match, champion Federer quietly waited to let tears flow into his towel after outshining the Croatian 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.

History, statistics, drama, excitement, Federer provided the packed audience everything. At age 35 years and 342 days, the Swiss Master won his eighth men's singles title at Wimbledon and his 19th Grand Slam title.

For someone won had walked away from the precincts of the All England Club in agony last year, this was an emotional fortnight. Match after match, Federer showed what magic is on a grass court. If in the first week, the court had a lush green tinge, by the end of Sunday evening, the court was pock-marked.

febdd_071617100010.jpgRoger Federer breaks down after winning Wimbledon.

Federer didn't mind it as he played tennis which resembled an artist at work. Instead of magic on canvas with a brush and paint, Federer used his racquet to conjure up lines. In art, the lines have to do with colour and beauty. In tennis, Federer showed his opponent the lines - hitting forehand and backhand winners near the chalk.

Any number of adjectives to describe the beauty of Federer's tennis are inadequate. There was grace on grass, poise in purpose, and a cool head which was needed against the most dangerous man on a tennis court. Pray, for a man who stands at six feet and six inches, has an amazing wing span and covers the court with long strides, Cilic was meant to be dangerous.

Like in war, sometimes in sport as well, brain and strategy work better. Federer was simply cerebral against Cilic in this big match. The Swiss master knew he did not have the bazooka serve of Cilic or the muscle and weight off the ground to harm his rival.

But then, Federer produced the richest tapestry of tennis seen in a long time at Centre Court. It was a perfect blend, tennis which only one man can produce -- Roger Federer. Midway through the second set, Cilic was in pain during the changeover. All of a sudden he started crying. Was it pain due to an injury or the pain of being unable to perform on the biggest stage on tennis?

federer-ap_071617095849.jpgBlessed with an athletic physique and the advantage of being much younger, Cilic never lived up to the hype. Photo: AP

As time passed, it turned out to be a case of Cilic being unable to produce the shots which had seen him come this far in The Championships. For a man who had rifled in 130 aces till the semi-finals, his shoulders were kind of frozen today. No power or pace in the serve and his inability to hit more than five aces showed he was choking.

Blessed with an athletic physique and the advantage of being much younger, Cilic never lived up to the hype. To borrow a phrase from Boris Becker, when you are on Centre Court at Wimbledon in a final, you can hit the deck under pressure.

Call it pressure or call it nervous energy draining him out, Cilic looked pedestrian. Perhaps, even on an off day when he doesn't like to train, he can play better tennis. As time passed and the crowd started cheering Federer, the writing was on the wall. The well-heeled audience, including the Royalty and former greats of tennis watched history being made.

Roger Federer winning a record eighth Wimbledon singles title and without dropping a set through the fortnight. Today, Federer is the oldest man in the Open era to win the Wimbledon title in men's event. For the record, Federer won Wimbledon without losing a set, a feat which had been last achieved by Bjorn Borg in the wooden racquet age, 41 years ago!

fedd_071617100046.jpgIn tennis, Federer showed his opponent the lines - hitting forehand and backhand winners near the chalk. Photo: AP

Federer had last won Wimbledon five years ago. In the years in between, new champions were born at the All England Club. Some said, Federer could never win the Wimbledon title again.It was perhaps poetic justice that for a man who has provided millions of tennis fans around the globe immense joy, 2017 has been a "rebirth" of sorts for Roger Federer. In 2003, when he won the title here for the first time, he was young and sported a pony tail.

Today, Federer has a receding hair line and his family was there to see him in work at office. That's what a tennis court is for him. His sons were dressed in formal jacket and white pant. Wife Mirka hid her emotions behind dark glasses and his playful daughter was waiting for Dad to step off the court and finish the formalities.

How long can Federer go on like this? Well, he has promised to come back next year to Wimbledon and defend his title. Once again!

Also read: Roger Federer is why tennis fans make the Wimbledon pilgrimage year after year

Writer

S Kannan S Kannan @kannandelhi

Sports columnist.

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