Roger Federer won a record eighth Wimbledon title to become the tournament’s oldest men’s champion of the Open era with a one-sided straight sets victory over Marin Cilic on Sunday.
Federer moved ahead of Britain’s William Renshaw and American Pete Sampras to claim his eighth title at the All England Club and his first since 2012 with a straightforward 6-3 6-1 6-4 success in one hour and 41 minutes.
“Holding the trophy now, after not dropping a set in the tournament, it’s magical really. I can’t believe it yet. It’s too much,” Federer said. “It’s disbelief I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in another final after last year. I had some tough ones in the finals, losing two against Novak (Djokovic).
“But I always believed. I kept on believing and dreaming I could get back. Here am I today with the eighth. It’s fantastic, if you keep believing you can go far in your life.”
He has not dropped a set all tournament and victory over Croatian giant Cilic gave him a 19th career Grand Slam title and second in three majors this year after sweeping to a fifth Australian Open in January following a six-month absence.
“I’ve got to take more time off! I’ll be gone again for the next six months! I don’t know if it will work as well again,” Federer said with a grin.
With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal all having fallen by the wayside at Wimbledon this year, Federer took on big-hitting Cilic in the Centre Court showdown in front of watching dignitaries.
In what was his 102nd at the tournament and his 29th final at the majors, the Swiss fended off an early break point chance to win the next six straight before breaking through for a 3-2 lead.
He consolidated it with a love service game, and was soon handed the opening set 6-3 after a generous double fault from his opponent, who was playing in his first Wimbledon final at the 11th attempt.
When Cilic won his only Slam at the US Open three years ago, he demolished Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals, but the seventh seed was enduring a nightmare and became discombobulated after dropping his opening service game of the second set.
There was concern on faces in Cilic’s box after the player called for medical assistance midway through the set. The 28-year-old looked to be in some discomfort and was moved to tears as he slumped in his chair. But he reacted in the best possible way with a firm hold as he warmed to the Centre Court crowd.
Federer was showing no sympathy for Cilic as he broke through once again before wrapping up the second set 6-1 with an ace.
Cilic took a medical time out before the start of the third set as he had his left-foot tapped up by his physio and there was genuine concerns that he could become the first player to retire in a Wimbledon final since Britain’s Herbert Roper Barrett in 1911.
The Croatian was being forced to dig deep as he looked to get his feet moving, but was still making far too many unforced errors in order to keep pace with Federer, 23 days before his 36th birthday.
With the threat of rain on the horizon, Federer closed in on an historic title by breaking for a 4-3 lead and completed his mission by serving the match out with his eighth ace to join Bjorn Borg as the only players in the Open era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set.
“I gave my best. That’s all I could do,” Cilic said. “I never gave up when started a match. That was my idea today. That’s what I did throughout my career.
“I had an amazing journey here. I played the best tennis of my life. I really want to thank my team, they gave so much strength to me. It was really tough today. I’m definitely hoping I will come back here (to the final) one more time.”