Wimbledon: Federer Targets Record Title against Cilic

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Roger Federer will attempt to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles when he takes on Marin Cilic in the final today. The Swiss, 35, can overtake the mark set by Pete Sampras in 2000, and Williams Renshaw in 1889, with victory in his 11th Wimbledon final.

Cilic, 28, held match points against Federer at last year’s Wimbledon and hopes to add to his 2014 US Open win. “It makes me really happy, marking history at Wimbledon,” said Federer.

“It’s a big deal. I love this tournament. All my dreams came true here as a player. To have another chance to go for number eight now, to be so close now at this stage, is a great feeling.”

Federer had to wait five years to take his Grand Slam tally to 18 titles with his stunning Australian Open victory in January, and just six months later he is the favourite to make it 19. The oldest male finalist since the 39-year-old Ken Rosewall lost to Jimmy Connors in 1974, the fact that Federer is a month short of his 36th birthday has been irrelevant to his form on court.

It is 14 years since Federer won his first major title when he beat Australia’s Mark Philippoussis on Centre Court, and five since he beat Andy Murray to win his last Wimbledon title. “I don’t feel like [2012] is that long ago, to be honest,” said the Swiss.

“2003 feels like ages ago, because of the ponytail, the beard, whatever, you name it. This one is different. I kind of look the same as back in 2012, or at least I hope so.”

His hairstyle might have changed but Federer’s game is, if anything, better than ever in his mid-30s. He has yet to drop a set and has lost just four service games over the course of six matches at the All England Club.
Cilic will provide a familiar challenge, with Federer leading their head-to-head 6-1, but their last two meetings suggest a close final could be in prospect.

Federer fought back from two sets and three match points down to win their Wimbledon quarter-final last year, which followed Cilic’s three-set demolition job on his way to winning the 2014 US Open. “He was confident and feeling it and seeing it,” recalled Federer. “It was very, very impressive.”

However, the seven-time champion remains the favourite he was labelled before the tournament began. “Unbelievably excited,” is how Federer described his mood. “I hope I can play one more good match.

“Eleven finals here, all these records, it’s great. But it doesn’t give me the title quite yet. That’s why I came here this year. I’m so close now, so I’ve just got to stay focused.”