‘Su­per­hu­man, time­less’: the Hill’s ver­dict on cham­pion

The Guardian - - NEWS - Car­o­line Davies

With the lack of a Bri­ton in the men’s fi­nal, a metaphor­i­cal Swiss flag flew over a highly par­ti­san Hen­man Hill. Love flowed for Roger Fed­erer, the hon­orary na­tional trea­sure who calls Wim­ble­don home and was mak­ing his 19th ap­pear­ance in SW19 since his first, with pony tail and beard, in 1999.

“Čilić,” said Michael McIn­tyre, the co­me­dian, when asked who he would be sup­port­ing. “Yes, he’s play­ing some Swiss guy, isn’t he?”, he said, be­fore adding “Go, Fed­erer”.

At 35 years and 342 days, Fed­erer is the oldest to win the men’s sin­gles in the open era, and the first since Björn Borg 41 years ago, to win with­out los­ing a set in the fort­night. Records give him mo­ti­va­tion and in­spi­ra­tion, he has said, and they fired-up the fans, too.

“Bril­liant”, “awe­some”, “phe­nom­e­nal”, “a ma­chine” were some of the breath­less de­scrip­tions from those crowded on to Hen­man Hill to watch on the big screen.

“Su­per­hu­man, that’s the word” en­thused Ital­ian-born Shan­non San­tan­gelo. “I mean, he’s even got two sets of twins”. Her boyfriend, Nick Petrie, de­cided on “time­less”, though he was Swiss in his neu­tral­ity. “I just want to see a re­ally good game,” he said.

In an Andy Mur­ray-Fed­erer face­off, the Scot would have claimed most al­le­giance. “You’ve got to be pa­tri­otic,” said Ann Farmer, from Hal­stead, Es­sex, re­lieved it wasn’t a choice. “But Fed­erer is awe­some. It’s his drive, his pas­sion. He is a phe­nom­e­nal ten­nis player.” Her friend Terri Ince glanced around. “You might as well put ev­ery­one down for Fed­erer,” she de­duced.

Fans of Marin Čilić were thin on the ground. The Wim­ble­don Chan­nel, the cham­pi­onship’s TV sta­tion, found two – largely be­cause one of them was wear­ing a Croa­t­ian team foot­ball shirt. “We can make a lot of noise,” he joked. They would have to. “We saw one in the queue, but he was afraid to say it too loudly as he was sur­rounded by Fed­erer fans,” said San­tan­gelo.

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