July 17, 2017
Sports Insider Weekly
Photos: Si Robi and Edward Martinez1
Roger Federer beat 28-year old Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday to capture his record eighth Wimbledon title. With the victory, Federer became the oldest men’s champion in the Opera era and the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to sweep through the draw without dropping a set.
“You go through these waves of highs and lows and try to navigate through, and it’s not always simple,” the 35-year old tennis star said. “It’s actually quite difficult with the amount of things in my life. You’ve got to still stay focused at the end of the day, and I was able to do that.”
Federer’s victory comes a year after Milos Raonic routed him in the 2016 Wimbledon semi-finals. With a bad knee and having lost in his past three Grand Slam Finals, a dejected Federer called it quits for the year. He returned to the court this January after a six-month hiatus; his sights set on a return to Wimbledon, his favorite tournament.
His comeback started with his fifth Australian Open victory, and was cemented with his Wimbledon victory, bringing his record total of major men’s singles titles to 19.
“I honestly didn’t think I was going to be able to run through top-10 players the way I am, win all these breakers, win all these big moments,” Federer said after his impressive win. “This is what’s made the difference for me. I’ve won all the big matches. It’s unbelievable.”
While Federer made history in Wimbledon’s center court over the weekend, Venus Williams wasn’t so lucky.
After Williams bested Jelena Ostapenko to become the oldest women’s Wimbledon finalist in 23 years, she had hoped to make history as the oldest women’s Grand Slam champion in the Opera Era.
While she started our strong, her hopes quickly fizzled on Saturday as she fell behind to 23-year old Spanish tennis player Garbine Muguruza. The 14th-seeded Muguruza beat the veteran Williams with a 7-5, 6-0 victory in just 77 minutes.
Williams’ loss was her second Grand Slam disappointment this year: she lost to sister Serena in the Australian Open final in January. It was the tennis star’s ninth Grand Slam final loss, but only the second time she was defeated in a major championship match by a player other than her sister. In her first Grand Slam Final at the U.S. Open in 1997, the elder Williams sister lost to Martina Hingis.
As always, Williams was gracious in defeat, congratulating her opponent and complimenting her performance. While many critics think Williams is unlikely to make it this far again, she has no plans of slowing down.
“It took a lot of effort to get right here today. So this is where I want to be every single major,” the 37-year old tennis star said. “What else can I say? It was a great experience.”