UN­MATCHED

Fed­erer wins a record eighth Wimbledon men’s cham­pi­onship

Los Angeles Times - - SPORTS - By Sam Farmer

LONDON — An­other record for the great Roger Fed­erer.

He has now con­ducted the most ex­pen­sive ten­nis clinic in his­tory.

The frus­trated stu­dent Sunday was Croa­tia’s Marin Cilic, play­ing in his first Wimbledon men’s fi­nal. Fed­erer, a vet­eran of 11, coolly dis­patched him 6-3, 6-1, 6-4, mak­ing it look less like a match and more like a vic­tory lap.

It was an un­prece­dented eighth Wimbledon ti­tle for Fed­erer, who had been tied at seven with his ten­nis idol Pete Sam­pras and William Ren­shaw.

“Win­ning eight is not some­thing you can ever aim for, in my opin­ion,” said the Swiss star, who turns 36 next month. “If you do, I don’t know, you must have so much tal­ent and par­ents and the coaches that push you from the age of 3 on, who think you’re like a project. I was not that kid. I was just re­ally a nor­mal guy grow­ing up in Basel, hop­ing to make a ca­reer on the ten­nis tour. I guess I dreamed, I be­lieved, and re­ally hoped that I could ac­tu­ally maybe re­ally do it, you know, to make it real. So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off.”

Fed­erer re­ceives $2.88 mil­lion in prize money for win­ning Wimbledon, bring­ing his ca­reer earn­ings to $107.33 mil­lion. In terms of Grand Slam event vic­to­ries at a single tour­na­ment, his eight Wimbledon ti­tles are sur­passed only by Rafael Nadal’s 10 French Open cham­pi­onships.

“Wimbledon was al­ways my fa­vorite tour­na­ment, will al­ways be my fa­vorite tour­na­ment,” said Fed­erer, who won the first of his 19 Grand Slam events here. “My he­roes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Be­cause of them, I think I be­came a bet­ter player too.

“To mark his­tory here at Wimbledon re­ally means a lot to me just be­cause of all of that, re­ally. It’s that sim­ple.”

Fed­erer, who ap­pro­pri­ately ended Sunday’s match with ace No. 8, didn’t lose a set through­out the tour­na­ment. It was his first Wimbledon ti­tle since 2012. The match was over in a breezy 1 hour 41 min­utes, the iden­ti­cal time it took Fed­erer to beat Andy Rod­dick in the 2005 fi­nal.

Com­ing off knee surgery last year, Fed­erer lost in the semi­fi­nals at Wimbledon. He then took the rest of the year off and spent it with his fam­ily. Amaz­ingly, he essen­tially came in cold and won the Aus­tralian Open upon his re­turn, but skipped the clay-court sea­son, in­clud­ing the French Open.

Then, he re­turned and won Wimbledon, mean­ing he won both Grand Slam events in which he played this year.

“Hon­estly, I’m in­cred­i­bly sur­prised how well this year is go­ing,” he said.

“I knew I could do great again maybe one day, but not at this level. So I guess you would have laughed, too, if I told you I was go­ing to win two Slams this year. Peo­ple wouldn’t be­lieve me if I said that. I also didn’t be­lieve that I was go­ing to win two this year.”

Fed­erer is the old­est man to win Wimbledon in the Open Era, which be­gan in 1968. When he won the Aus­tralian Open this year, he was the old­est to do so since 37-year-old Ken Rose­wall in 1972.

The 6-foot-6 Cilic wasn’t over­pow­ered, but he buck­led un­der the weight of a slew of un­forced er­rors and was both­ered by a blis­ter on the ball of his left foot. Typ­i­cally, Fed­erer was a ma­chine with his fluid ground strokes and deft play at the net.

Cilic, the 2014 U.S. Open win­ner, said he had hoped to play through the pain of the blis­ter but that it wound up al­ter­ing his strat­egy.

“In the match, I tried to change it up and play serve and vol­ley to put my­self in a sit­u­a­tion where I didn’t have to move lat­er­ally left to right,” said Cilic, who cer­tainly got no help from the sur­gi­cal Fed­erer in that re­gard.

“I couldn’t tell you if he was strug­gling mov­ing to his fore­hand or to his back­hand,” Fed­erer said. “Be­cause he was serv­ing big. He was serve and vol­ley­ing. So I guess move­ment for that rea­son wasn’t the big­gest prob­lem maybe. I thought when he called the doc­tor first, I thought maybe he was dizzy or some­thing.”

Of course, this wasn’t a case of Cilic los­ing the match. Fed­erer im­posed his will and won it.

The ques­tion is, how many more Wimbledon ti­tles can he win?

He was asked whether he can see him­self do­ing this at age 40, for in­stance.

“I mean, you would think so, if health per­mit­ting, and like you say, every­thing is OK,” he said.

Then, with a smile: “You could take 300 days off be­fore­hand, just pre­pare for Wimbledon, put your­self in a freeze box, then you come out and train a bit, you know you’re not go­ing to be in­jured.

“Yeah, play­ing Wimbledon and win­ning Wimbledon are two sep­a­rate things. Don’t for­get that.”

Af­ter his un­for­get­table per­for­mance in this tour­na­ment, that is abun­dantly clear.

Clive Brunskill Getty Im­ages

ROGER FED­ERER of Switzer­land ac­knowl­edges the crowd at the All Eng­land Lawn Ten­nis and Cro­quet Club af­ter de­feat­ing Marin Cilic of Croa­tia 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 for an un­prece­dented eighth men’s ti­tle at Wimbledon, where he didn’t lose a set.

Clive Brunskill Getty Im­ages

MARIN CILIC re­ceives treat­ment for blis­ters on his left foot dur­ing the Wimbledon fi­nal match against Roger Fed­erer.

Adrian Den­nis AFP/Getty Im­ages

ROGER FED­ERER re­turns a shot on the way to beat­ing Marin Cilic of Croa­tia in straight sets for the Wimbledon men’s ti­tle, a record eighth for the Swiss star, who turns 36 in Au­gust and is the old­est man to win the tour­na­ment in the Open Era.

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