Tuesday 20 February 2018 / 10:46 PM


Roger Federer roared to an historic eighth Wimbledon title with a crushing straight set win against Marin Cilic on Sunday.

Federer defeated a suffering Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 to become the first man to win eight Championships and notch up his unprecedented nineteenth major, effectively elevating himself even higher into the grand slam stratosphere.

Federer, 35, is now the oldest male player in the Open era to win the Wimbledon trophy. He is the second oldest to win a major in the professional era behind Ken Rosewall, who was 37 years and 62 days when he won the 1972 Australian Open.

“Wimbledon was always my favourite tournament. [It] will always be my favourite tournament,” Federer said.

After two nervy opening service games, it seemed the first set at least was going to go down to the wire.

Cilic had the first opportunity to break, but he was unable to capitalise. Instead it was Federer who made the most of his opportunities, punishing Cilic with two service breaks in the first set.

A double fault from the usually big-serving Croat handed Federer the opener, as Cilic vented out his frustration smashing his racquet into the courtside chair.

Federer wound back the clock, flying out to a 3-0 lead in the second, prompting a rattled Cilic to break down during the changeover, as he could be seen sobbing with his head buried in a towel.

The doctor, referee and trainer surrounded him courtside, but he didn’t receive any apparent treatment until the end of the first set when they treated a blister on his left foot.

The crowd, who were evidently favouring Federer, urged Cilic to continue play seemingly worried an emotional Cilic may have retired.

The maiden finalist soldiered on, but he showed only rare glimpses of competing with the finesse of Federer who ultimately clinched the historic win with an ace on his second match point.

“It’s disbelief that I can reach such heights,” Federer said.

“I was never sure if I was going to be back here in another final, but I always believed that I could come back and do it again.

“It means the world to me, just feeling great and holding the trophy.”

Federer fired down 8 aces, struck 23 winners and made just 8 unforced errors during the one hour and 41 minute clash. Meanwhile, Cilic struck 16 winners and made 23 unforced errors.

He addressed his injury concerns during his post-match news conference.

“It was definitely one of the unfortunate days for me to happen. I got a really bad blister,” Cilic said.

“Fluid just came down under my callous in the foot. Every time I had to do a reaction fast, fast change of movement, I was unable to do that.

“Obviously was very tough emotionally because I know how much I went through last few months in preparation with everything. It was also tough because of my own team.

“They did so much for me. I just felt it was really bad luck. But in any point, obviously if the score would go really badly, I wouldn’t push it so much. But I really wanted to give my best to try as much as I could.”

Last year a defiant Federer saved a match point to record a thrilling five-set come from behind victory against Cilic in the quarterfinals. He then subsequently went on to lose to Milos Raonic in the semi-finals.

As he limped off the court even Federer, upon reflecting on that loss, admitted he had no idea if he would ever make it back to another final at the All England Club, let alone win the title.

But fast-forward twelve months and Federer holds the Wimbledon trophy aloft. Furthermore, it’s his second grand slam for the season, having already conquered the Australian Open.

He could also be on track to regain the top ranking, especially considering he doesn’t have any more points to defend for the remainder of the year.

It’s definitely evident taking six months off has paid dividends for Federer. This is the first time since 2009 that he has held two major titles in the same season.

Federer is also just the second man in history, joining Rafael Nadal, to win eight titles at the same grand slam.

Adding to his historic feats, Federer has now won an incredible 92 matches, out of a possible 105 at Wimbledon, making him the most successful player at the Championships.

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Alyssia Varricchio

Alyssia Varricchio is a sports reporter, journalist and producer based in Melbourne.

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