Roger makes his­tory

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LON­DON(AFP) –Roger Fed­erer won a record eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle and be­came the tour­na­ment’s old­est cham­pion Sun­day with a straight­sets 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 1975.

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 a blis­ter that he first suf­fered in his five-set win over Sam Quer­rey in the semi-fi­nal was to blame for his trou­bles.

‘‘I got a bad blis­ter and fluid just came down un­der my cal­lous in the foot,’’ ex­plained Cilic.

‘‘I still felt the pain. Ev­ery time I had to do a re­ac­tion fast, fast change of move­ment, I was un­able to do that.’’

How­ever, Cilic ex­plained that his court­side tears were for his emo­tional rather than phys­i­cal pain.

‘‘It was just that feel­ing that I wasn’t able to give my best,’’ he said.

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.


SWITZER­LAND’S Roger Fed­erer cel­e­brates af­ter de­feat­ing Croa­tia’s Marin Cilic to win the Men’s Sin­gles fi­nal match at the Wim­ble­don Tennis Cham­pi­onships in Lon­don.

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