Capping a marvelous tournament performance in which he never dropped a set, Roger Federer of Switzerland won his eighth Wimbledon trophy and record 19th Grand Slam event overall by overwhelming Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
LONDON – After Roger Federer closed out a Wimbledon final that was more of a coronation than a contest with an ace, he sat in his changeover chair and wiped away tears.
That is when it hit the Swiss superstar: His wait for record-breaking title No. 8 was over. Until then, Federer wasn’t focused on the notion of winning the grass-court tournament more often than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877.
All he had been concerned with, consumed with, was being healthy enough to compete at a high level and, he hoped, to win a title, regardless of what the total count would be.
Capping a marvelous tournament performance in which he never dropped a set, Federer won his eighth Wimbledon trophy and record 19th Grand Slam event overall by overwhelming Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in merely 1 hour, 41 minutes Sunday.
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“Wimbledon was always my favorite tournament. Will always be my favorite tournament. My heroes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Because of them, I think I became a better player, too,” said Federer, who will turn 36 next month and is the oldest male champion at the All England Club in the Open era, which began in 1968.
“To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me just because of all of that, really. It’s that simple.”
Federer and Bjorn Borg (1976) are the only Wimbledon champions in the Open era to go through the tournament without losing a set.
Federer’s first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003, and was followed by others in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won again in 2009 and 2012. But then he lost finals in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic of Serbia.
Federer couldn’t be sure another final, let alone title, was possible a year ago, when he lost in the semifinals, then took the rest of 2016 off to let his surgically repaired left knee heal.
“It’s been a long road,” he said.
Cilic said afterward he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday, and that affected his ability to move properly or summon the intimidating serves that carried him to his lone major title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he knocked off Federer in the semifinals.
This one was all Federer, who had been tied at seven championships with Pete Sampras and Willie Renshaw.
With the third-seeded Federer up 3-0 in the second set, Cilic cried while he was visited by a doctor and trainer. He said that was not so much a result of his pain as the idea he could not play well enough to present a challenge.
“Very tough emotionally,” said No. 7 seed Cilic. “I knew that I cannot give my best on the court.”
Men with the most Wimbledon singles titles: