No superlative can describe the magical winning machine that is Roger Federer. He continues to defy age and logic after his latest Grand Slam win. The Swiss may sit out the Montreal Masters and play only in Cincinnati before an assault on a sixth US Open where he hasn’t won since 2008. Can his remarkable Grand Slam year end on an ultimate high in The Big Apple?
He’s been described as The Bionic Man and The Renaissance Man after winning the Australian Open and back-to-back Masters 1000 series, but he now has to be known as Superman after winning a record-breaking eighth Wimbledon title. He’s quite simply out of this world!
Federer has re-invented himself in 2017 after it looked like he had won his last major at Wimbledon in 2012. He has adjusted his game and refreshed his body, lifting the grand old trophy once again, three weeks before his 36th birthday.
Fourteen years after winning his first Grand Slam title at the All England Club, Federer clinched a historic 19th major in a straightforward manner over Marin Cilic making him the oldest man to triumph on the famed grass courts.
On court, his successes have brought him more than $100 million in prize money and now 93 career titles. Off it, he is the father of two sets of twins, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva and Leo and Lenny with wife Mirka, a former player he met at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.
Born on August 8, 1981 in Basel, to Swiss father Robert and South African mother Lynette, Federer started playing tennis at the age of eight.
He won his first ATP title in Milan in 2001 and has racked up trophies every year since with the exception of 2016 when he shut his season down, missing the Olympics and US Open, to rest a knee injury.
But the gamble paid off as a rejuvenated Federer won a fifth Australian Open on his return with a five-set classic against his old foe Rafael Nadal before adding back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami.
He skipped the clay court season in the knowledge that a fully-fit Nadal was always likely to dominate the French Open, and he wasn’t wrong as the Spaniard swept up the dirt at Roland Garros to record a landmark 10th title.
Back on grass, Federer won a ninth Halle title before easing to his latest stunning Wimbledon triumph on Sunday.
Wimbledon, where he became the first man to win the trophy without dropping a set since Bjorn Borg in 1976, was only his seventh tournament of 2017. Federer’s match-win record for 2017 now stands at 31-2, with those defeats coming against players ranked outside the Top 100 – Evgeny Donskoy [Dubai] and Tommy Haas [Stuttgart].
For all the statistics in Federer’s favour, his greatest legacy will be his majestic style of play, which has always been to attack. Every one of his Grand Slam titles are testament to his touch and creativity while his elegance on and off the court has won him fans all the world over. There is hardly a court on the planet where he is not the home favourite.
His appearances on the tour are expected to remain limited and he has hinted that he may sit out the Montreal Masters and play only in Cincinnati before an assault on a sixth US Open where he hasn’t won since 2008.
Federer is also within touching distance of returning to the world No 1 ranking by the end of the year. Eleven of the last 14 Wimbledon champions have finished the season top of the rankings.
That list includes Nadal who, despite losing to Gilles Muller in a five-set last-16 epic at Wimbledon, remains one of the year’s in-form players with 46 wins and just seven losses.
As well as winning the first three majors of 2017, Nadal and Federer have also captured four of the five Masters played so far. Where Federer triumphed in California and Miami, Nadal swept to victories in Monte Carlo and Madrid.
Only the young up and coming German Alexander Zverev has prevented a Masters sweep by the two old-timers by conquering Rome.
If Federer and Nadal remain fit, they will start as favourites for the US Open which gets underway in six weeks’ time especially with question marks over the fitness of Andy Murray [hip] and Novak Djokovic [shoulder]
Federer says he had always hoped that something “magical” would happen for him at Wimbledon.
At 35, he also became the tournament’s oldest men’s champion of the Open era.
Federer, who was winning as a junior at Wimbledon nearly 20 years ago, told Sky Sports News: “I was hoping that something magical would happen at some stage, one year maybe at Wimbledon but not eight times, not eleven finals, not this magnitude.
“If you told the people that I am coming to play Wimbledon for the next 20 years and I am going to win eight of them, they are going to go ‘Yeah right, whatever, the little Swiss kid has lost his mind’.
“That’s why you stay grounded, you work hard, you try to put yourself in contention.”
Federer is now promising to play more tennis than he has in recent months.
He added: “No, I will not step away [for] six months again and then come back at the Australian Open. We are contemplating what I should play on the hard courts and how we go from there. There’s much more tennis coming up this year than last year.”
Federer was speaking after celebrating his success.
He said: “I went to bed at five. I spent time with about 40 friends that came from around the world and mostly Switzerland to support me. We went out to a bar and had a great time. I woke up with a headache but it was worth it.”
But perhaps Federer’s greatest memory of this particular triumph was sharing the moment with his four children.
He went on: “It’s a big deal for me and that’s what made me so emotional at the end, just seeing them overlooking Centre Court, looking down on this set almost like a movie set. Honestly, it means so much to me.”