Roger Federer as ruthless as he had to be – and as lovely to watch as ever – took only an hour and 41 minutes to win his eighth Wimbledon title, 14 years after his first, and left his wounded opponent, Marin Cilic, in a bedazzled heap on Centre Court.
“It’s magical,” Federer said courtside. “I can’t believe it yet. It’s too much. I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today for my eighth title. I hope to be back to defend it next year.”
Those were sweet words for his millions of followers, who must secretly wonder when the fairytale will end.
It is the Swiss’s 19th slam title, his second of the year after beating Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final, and, there is no reason to say that the youngest 35-year-old in sport cannot go on to win the final major of the year, at Flushing Meadows in September, and finish 2017 where he has spent so much time, as No1 in the world.
It would be a Federer grand slam, of sorts, with an asterisk beside it for missing the French Open, where Nadal triumphed for the 10th time. The Spaniard did not drop a set in Paris. Federer did not drop a set on Church road. Those are statements of dominance on their preferred surfaces that are impossible to deny.
Cilic, a virtual one-legged bystander once his left foot gave up on him after the first set, said tearfully: “I’ve never given up in all my career. I gave my best, and that is all I could do I had an amazing journey here, played the best tennis of my life.”
Federer paid tribute to his stricken foe. “It is cruel some times but he fought well and he is a hero,” the Swiss said. “He should be really proud.”
Playing tennis every bit as good as when in his pomp, Federer might yet go on to match Nadal’s French Open La Decima at the All England Club. He said before the final he feels no urge to retire and with his peers Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic showing distinct signs of frailty, he will very much fancy his chances.