Fed­erer on verge of Wim­ble­don im­mor­tal­ity

Muscat Daily - - SPORTS -

Lon­don, UK - Five years af­ter his last Wim­ble­don tri­umph, Roger Fed­erer can cap­ture a record eighth All Eng­land Club ti­tle Sun­day and be­come the tour­na­ment's old­est men's win­ner of the mod­ern era.

With his 36th birthday next month, the ev­er­green Swiss will com­fort­ably suc­ceed Arthur Ashe, who was al­most 32 when he won in 1975, as Wim­ble­don's most se­nior

cham­pion. Vic­tory over Croa­t­ian gi­ant Marin

Cilic will also give him a 19th ca­reer Grand

Slam ti­tle and sec­ond in three ma­jors this year af­ter sweep­ing to a fifth Australian Open in January fol­low­ing a six­month ab­sence. "I was hop­ing to be in good shape when the grass court sea­son came around," said Fed­erer who, for good mea­sure, also pock­eted back-to-back Mas­ters at In­dian Wells and Mi­ami as well as a ninth Halle grass court crown.

"The first three, four months were just like a dream re­ally. So this is some­thing I was work­ing to­wards, you know, Wim­ble­don, to be in good shape. I'm happy it's pay­ing off here now."

Fed­erer ad­mits his form in 2017 has sur­prised even him­self af­ter he shut down his 2016 sea­son to rest a knee in­jury in the af­ter­math of his bru­tal five-set semi­fi­nal loss at Wim­ble­don to Mi­los Raonic. He has 30 wins and just two losses this year and he has reached his 11th Wim­ble­don fi­nal with­out drop­ping a set.

Sun­day's match will be his 102nd at the tour­na­ment and his 29th fi­nal at the ma­jors. "It makes me re­ally happy, mak­ing his­tory here at Wim­ble­don. It's a big deal. I love this tour­na­ment," said Fed­erer, who has been tied with Pete Sam­pras on seven Wim­ble­don ti­tles since beat­ing Andy Mur­ray in the 2012 fi­nal.

"All my dreams came true here as a player. To have an­other chance to go for num­ber eight now, be kind of so close now at this stage, is a great feel­ing. Yeah, un­be­liev­ably ex­cited. I hope I can play one more good match. 11 fi­nals here, all th­ese records, it's great. I'm so close now."

Fed­erer, rev­el­ling in the spot­light of hav­ing played all his matches on Cen­tre Court, has hardly been trou­bled on his way to the fi­nal. He has lost serve just four times and spent four and a half hours less on court than Cilic. Fed­erer also boasts a 6-1 ca­reer record over Cilic, the 2014 US Open cham­pion who has made his first Wim­ble­don fi­nal at the 11th at­tempt.

How­ever, Cilic's game is made for grass and 12 months ago he led Fed­erer by two sets to love and held three match points in an epic quar­ter­fi­nal which the Swiss su­per­star won.

When Cilic won his only Slam in New York three years ago, he de­mol­ished Fed­erer in straight sets in the semi­fi­nals. "I don't want to say it's more re­laxed go­ing into it be­cause I have a good headto-head record against Marin, even though the matches were ex­tremely close," said Fed­erer.

Cilic is only the sec­ond Croa­t­ian man to reach the Wim­ble­don fi­nal af­ter Go­ran Ivani­se­vic, his for­mer coach, who swept to a ti­tle win in 2001.

"This is Roger's home court, the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game," said Cilic.

"Ob­vi­ously I'm go­ing to look back, 12 months ago I was one point away from win­ning a match against him here. But it's still a big moun­tain to climb."

The fi­nal match be­gins at 5pm.

Roger Fed­erer

Marin Cilic

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