Somehow, Roger Federer keeps pushing the boundaries of greatness

From ESPN - July 16, 2017

LONDON -- He keeps rocketing farther into the tennis firmament. Keeps pushing the boundaries past what was previously thought possible in his sport.

Roger Federer's record-setting 19th major victory unfolded under threatening skies here Sunday, but with no hint of trouble on court. He lost just eight games against an opponent in Marin Cilic who was hobbled by an injured foot. It took 101 minutes. From the Swiss, the most memorable emotion came minutes after he won the last point with an ace: He sat in his on-court chair, looked into the stands at his support team, his wife and children, and cried.

Then he composed himself coolly. In front of an adoring crowd he did what he has now done more than any other man in Wimbledon history. He held high the tournament's gilded winner's cup for the eighth time.

"To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me; it's that simple," Federer said soon after walking from the court. "[But] funny enough, I did not think that much of it throughout today, throughout the trophy ceremony. I was just happy that I was able to win Wimbledon again, because it's been a long road. It's been tough at times ... but that's how it's supposed to be."

Tough, indeed. Who could have imagined such a renaissance at age 35? Going into this season, Federer had not won a major title since a protracted battle with Andy Murray at Wimbledon five years back. He'd been close, suffering through three painful losses in the finals of major tournaments, two at the All England Club. In the fog of this fresh victory, it is easy to forget last year, when he suffered through the indignity of a tripping-tumble to the Centre Court turf as he succumbed in a semifinal defeat. He announced soon afterward that he was leaving the tour for six months, a move needed to heal his wounds and come back with a new perspective. But he was thought by many to be finished.

How quickly it all changes. The 131st Wimbledon is in the books and his name is etched again on the wall of champions. Same as at this year's Australian Open, with its epic final against Rafael Nadal. Same as at the big tour stops in Palm Springs and Miami. Same as last month at Halle, Germany, where, just as during this fortnight, he did not drop a single set.

"I knew I could go great again maybe one day, but not at this level" he said. "You would have laughed if I told you I was going to win two Slams this year. People would not believe me if I [had] said that." Then, he admitted that he, too, had plenty of doubts. "I also did not believe that I was going to win two this year."

Now he knows. Now, once again, we all know.


Continue reading at ESPN »