Federer triumphs to claim seventh Wimbledon
The magician was once again on display on Centre Court. The artist returned with precise footwork, fiery forehands, and perfectly sliced backhands. The King was restored once more at the All England Club.
The genius that was and still is Roger Federer was at his absolute best en route to a seventh Wimbledon title that equals Pete Sampras’s mark for most all-time by taking down Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4, Sunday.
Federer was elegant and graceful once more in his record eighth Wimbledon final that put him back on top of the tennis world for the first time in three years when the rankings are updated Monday and now puts him in a tie with Pete Sampras for the most amount of weeks (286) as the world’s number one.
“This year I guess I decided in the bigger matches to take it more to my opponent instead of waiting a bit more for the mistakes,” Federer said after the match. “Yeah, this is I guess how you want to win Wimbledon, is by going after your shots, believing you can do it, and that’s what I was able to do today.”
Murray played an inspired match and seemed unafraid of the big stage in a manner unlike his two previous major final appearances. Playing in his first Wimbledon final, he broke Federer in the opening game of the match. He would break serve again at 4-4 after he sent a screaming forehand flying straight at Federer’s head that would have made his coach Ivan Lendl proud.
But Federer was not to be outdone. The class and calm that we have come to expect from the now 17-time Grand Slam champion was on full display when the moment demanded it. Facing break points yet again in the second set at 4-all, Federer maintained his poise and exhibited elegance to hold serve. Federer remained cool holding set point a few games later, with a delicate backhand slice at the net to even up the match at a set apiece.
The third set was Federer at his vintage best – his movement on the court impeccable and his backhand as strong as it’s ever been. It appeared to be routine service game for Murray up 40-love in the fourth set. Not against Federer. The maestro unleashed the entire bag with powerful overhead smashes to ferocious forehand winners to beautiful slices in an incredible 19-minute, 10-deuce, and 26-point game that Federer took on his sixth break chance.
From this time forward, things became a matter of formality as Murray did his absolute best to give Federer everything he could. Unfortunately for the Brit, that was not enough to withhold the King from returning back to his throne. Murray’s shot would go far right on championship point and Federer fell to the ground knowing he had risen back as the number one tennis player in the world.
“I’m getting closer,” Murray quipped during his on-court interview.
Yes, he’s getting closer, as he did win his first ever set in the final of a Grand Slam. But no, he’s still been unable to completely break through in an era comprising the Big 3 of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Federer.
“I just lost to one of the greatest athletes of all time,” Murray said. “You have to put things in context a little bit.”
What can’t be put into context is the greatness Federer continues to exhibit now just a month away from his 31st birthday. After being unable to be crowned champion in nine straight majors, the questions began to arise as to whether Federer would ever win another Grand Slam. Doubt arose as to whether he could still dominate at the hallowed grounds of Wimbledon where Federer had been an unstoppable force in seven straight final appearances before being bounced out in the quarterfinals the last two years.
It just made this win all the more special for the King of the Slams.
“It is special,” Federer said while holding the Wimbldeon trophy. “For me, it’s a magical moment in my career. To get my 7th one here, my 17th [Grand Slam], my world number one ranking back.”
My world number one ranking. It’s as if he’s known he’s always been the best.
Sure, he’s not the same player he was five years ago, even if he says he “hopes so.” Sure, the debate will rage as to whether he will maintain that dominance. Sure, he may not be universally considered the best player in the world currently even though he holds the title of world number one – not when Djokovic and Nadal have won five of the last Grand Slams and have both gone head-to-head in the last four major finals before Sunday.
But there is no doubt now that Federer is not finished yet. It certainly was a magical moment for him in capturing Grand Slam No. 17. He is champion yet again.