It’s his 19th major win overall, but eighth Wimbledon feat. He is now a man of history, winning the grand slam more than any person since it began in 1877.
And so, Roger Federer is Wimbledon champion after having to wait for 14 years. He did it by capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in a lopsided final that was more coronation than contest.
When it ended, with an ace from Federer after merely one hour, 41 minutes, he raised both arms overhead. A minute or so later, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.
Truly, the outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead. Cilic, whose left foot was treated by a trainer in the late going, was never able to summon the intimidating serves or crisp volleys that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S.
Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.
This one was all Federer, who last won Wimbledon in 2012. That seventh championship pulled Federer even with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what’s still officially called Gentlemen’s Singles.
Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, back in the days when the previous year’s champion advanced automatically to the final and therefore was able to successfully defend a title with one victory.
Federer had come close to bettering his predecessors but couldn’t quite do it. He lost in the 2014 and 2015 Wimbledon finals to Novak Djokovic, and in the semifinals last year after erasing match points to get past Cilic in a five-set quarter final.
With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air, the very first game offered a glimpse at Cilic’s apparent plan: go after Federer’s backhand.
All five points won by Cilic in that opening stanza came via mistakes by Federer on that stroke. Conversely, all three points won by Federer in that game were thanks to forehand miscues by Cilic.