Federer rolls back the years to win historic eighth Wimbledon title

16 July 2017 08:54

Roger Federer truly is the genius that keeps on giving.

What had been considered his peak years, when he won 11 of 16 grand slam titles between 2004 and 2007, were already enough.

But is Federer now better than ever a month short of his 36th birthday?

He has certainly never been more dominant at Wimbledon - becoming the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win the men's singles title without dropping a set.

And Federer at last can celebrate being the most successful man ever at the All England Club, winning his eighth title to break the tie with Pete Sampras and Williams Renshaw he had been in since 2012.

In truth, this will not be a Wimbledon tournament that sticks in the memory aside from Federer's moment of history.

But that in itself will be more than enough for his army of adoring fans - there is nothing ordinary that cannot be made extraordinary with a sprinkle of Federer's magic dust.

How different things seem now to a little under 12 months ago when Federer, having lost to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals at Wimbledon, announced he would be taking the rest of the year off to fully recuperate after knee surgery last February.

Federer had glided through his career with almost no injury problems but 2016 appeared to be the year when age had caught up with him.

The Swiss played only seven tournaments and did not win any of them.

The obituaries were not so much written as dug out from all the other times before when Federer's grand slam-winning days had been declared over.

Federer simply seemed delighted to be back when he returned to the match court in Australia.

But he kept winning, defeating Kei Nishikori in five sets, then Stan Wawrinka and finally his great rival Rafael Nadal in a final that fitted the script so perfectly it would have been dismissed as too cheesy for Hollywood.

This fortnight has been rather different.

The expectation was well and truly on Federer's shoulders after he won Masters titles in Indian Wells and Miami then took the whole clay season off to ensure he was in the best possible shape for Wimbledon.

The favourite from before a ball was hit at the All England Club, Federer progressed serenely through the tournament while his rivals fell around him.

Nadal was upset in a thriller by Gilles Muller while Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic both succumbed to injury.

More than five years their senior, Federer still glides around the court - if only he had played on Centre Court this year, the grass may still be perfect.

Marin Cilic could not cope with the pain from blisters caused by his own struggles to reach a first Wimbledon final but nothing could take away from Federer's moment of history.

The oldest champion in the Open era, the first man to claim a 19th grand slam singles crown - Nadal now a more distant four adrift once again.

The list goes on and, if one thing seems certain, it is that Federer is not finished yet.

Source: PA