Fed­erer wins record 8th Wim­ble­don as Cilic in tears

Kuwait Times - - FRONT PAGE -

Roger Fed­erer won a record eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle and be­came the tour­na­ment’s oldest cham­pion yes­ter­day with a straight-sets vic­tory over in­jury-hit Marin Cilic who dra­mat­i­cally broke down in tears mid­way through the fi­nal.

Fed­erer claimed his 19th Grand Slam ti­tle 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 and at 35 is Wim­ble­don’s oldest men’s win­ner of the mod­ern era, suc­ceed­ing Arthur Ashe, who was al­most 32 when he won in 1976.

How­ever, the Swiss su­per­star’s 11th Wim­ble­don fi­nal, and 29th at the ma­jors, will also be re­mem­bered for the mov­ing sight of the pop­u­lar Cilic break­ing down in tears af­ter slip­ping 3-0 be­hind in the sec­ond set. The sev­enth seeded Croa­t­ian, the 2014 US Open cham­pion, sobbed in­con­solably and buried his head in his towel as his ti­tle dream slipped away. He had his left foot taped at the end of the sec­ond set but it was in vain as Fed­erer be­came the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win Wim­ble­don with­out drop­ping a set in the en­tire tour­na­ment.

“He’s a hero,” Fed­erer said of his op­po­nent. Twelve months ago, Fed­erer was de­feated in five sets in the semi-fi­nals by Mi­los Raonic and promptly shut down his sea­son to rest a knee in­jury. “It’s dis­be­lief I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in an­other fi­nal af­ter last year,” said Fed­erer, who turns 36 in three weeks’ time and who has now bro­ken the tie for seven Wim­ble­don ti­tles he shared with Pete Sam­pras and Wil­liam Ren­shaw.

“I had some tough ones in the fi­nals, los­ing two against No­vak (Djokovic). “But I al­ways be­lieved. I kept on be­liev­ing and dream­ing I could get back. “Here am I to­day with the eighth. It’s fan­tas­tic, if you keep be­liev­ing you can go far in your life.”

Fed­erer won his 18th Slam in Aus­tralia in Jan­uary on his re­turn to the tour be­fore adding the In­dian Wells and Mi­ami Masters back-to-back and a ninth Halle grass­court ti­tle. He also skipped the en­tire clay­court sea­son. “I’ve got to take more time off,” joked Fed­erer, play­ing in just his sev­enth event of the year. “I’ll be gone again for the next six months! I don’t know if it will work as well again.”

Cilic, who had spent four and a half hours more than Fed­erer get­ting to the fi­nal, said re­tir­ing with his in­jury was never an op­tion. “I never give up in a match. I gave it my best-it’s all I can do,” said Cilic who was still emo­tional at the tro­phy pre­sen­ta­tion.

“I had an amaz­ing jour­ney here. I played the best ten­nis of my life. I re­ally want to thank my team-they gave so much strength to me.” Be­neath a star-stud­ded Royal Box where Prince Wil­liam and wife Kate rubbed shoul­ders with ac­tors Hugh Grant and Bradley Cooper, Cilic had his first break point in the fourth game. It was saved by Fed­erer and it was to be Cilic’s only glim­mer of hope.

NASTY FALL

Fed­erer broke in the next game when his op­po­nent suf­fered a nasty fall on the worn sur­face which was to ul­ti­mately un­der­mine his chal­lenge. Fed­erer then served up two love ser­vice games be­fore claim­ing the opener 6-3 off a Cilic dou­ble fault, the Croa­t­ian’s sec­ond of the fi­nal.

The Swiss su­per­star swept into a 3-0 lead in the sec­ond set and at the changeover, Cilic slumped in his court­side chair in tears and in ob­vi­ous pain. The trainer and doc­tor were sum­moned be­fore Cilic hid his head in his towel in a des­per­ate at­tempt to com­pose him­self.

The 28-year-old held serve on the re­sump­tion but the lethal bar­rage con­tin­ued, Fed­erer stretch­ing his lead over his friend to 4-1. Cilic dropped the set 6-1 and called a med­i­cal time­out to have his left foot ban­daged and take a painkiller.

His dis­com­fort was re­flected in his statis­tics. By the end of the sec­ond set, he had served just two aces com­pared to the 130 he had fired past bam­boo­zled op­po­nents in his pre­vi­ous six rounds. Fed­erer pounced again with a break for 4-3 and wrapped up the onesided fi­nal with a sec­ond serve ace to com­plete his corona­tion af­ter just 1hr 41 min­utes. Fit­tingly, he too wept at the end. — AFP

LON­DON: Switzer­land’s Roger Fed­erer (L) and Croa­tia’s Marin Cilic pose with their tro­phies af­ter Fed­erer won their men’s sin­gles fi­nal match, dur­ing the pre­sen­ta­tion on the last day of the 2017 Wim­ble­don Cham­pi­onships at The All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis Club in Wim­ble­don, south­west Lon­don, yes­ter­day. Roger Fed­erer won 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. — AFP

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