It wasn’t the circumstance anyone wanted, but nonetheless, Roger Federer has earned another Wimbledon record with his eighth title.
Facing Marin Cilic, who was both physically limited and emotionally overcome, Federer rolled 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday afternoon in Centre Court, becoming the first man to claim eight singles titles. That breaks an Open Era tie with Pete Sampras and an all-time tie with William Renshaw.
(UPDATE: In press, Cilic said he’s been dealing with a foot blister and his emotions were due to the knowledge he couldn’t be at his best.)
Federer, 35, faced an early break point, but he saved it and then immediately broke the next game. Cilic’s nerves were progressively evident, culminating with a double fault on set point.
It became more and more apparent that Cilic was also dealing with an injury, and Federer loosened up even more.
Cilic would loosen up himself a bit in the third set without any scoreboard pressure, and Federer understandably got a little less free as victory loomed. However, he never faced real pressure and coasted to a straight-set win.
By winning in three, Federer capped off a run to match Rafael Nadal’s in Paris, winning Wimbledon without dropping a set. He becomes the only Open Era man besides Bjorn Borg in 1976 to do so. Coupled with his 2007 triumph in Australia, Federer also joins Nadal and Borg, who have three apiece, as the only men in the Open Era to win multiple majors without dropping a set.
In the overall Slam count, Federer’s first Wimbledon since 2012 bumps his total up to 19, back up to four over Nadal and suddenly seven over Novak Djokovic, who had nudged his way into the race just last season.
Adding to his Australian Open title in January, 2017 marks Federer’s first multi-Slam season since 2009, and sixth overall.
Federer’s tour-leading fifth title of the season will place him up to third in Monday’s rankings update, and inch him closer to Nadal in the year-to-date points race that could down to the wire.