Eight Wimbledon titles is more than any other men’s tennis player who’s ever stepped onto the hallowed grounds at the All England Lawn Tennis Club. I can still remember in the summer of 2001, watching a young kid from Switzerland with a ponytail stepping on to Centre Court to face off against 4-time defending champion Pete Sampras in the 4th round. And I can still remember being stunned when the kid upended Sampras, much to my dismay. Now here he is 14 years later, no longer a kid — no longer a ponytail, either — breaking Sampras’s record of 7 Wimbledon championships.
In all 8 of his victorious fortnights in London since 2003, this one is the first that Federer won without dropping a set. The last man to do that? Bjorn Borg — in 1976.
Think about that just for a second. He’s been spectacular in all 8 championship runs, dominated the field, cruised to titles as the #1 ranked player in the world — and it wasn’t until he was 35 years old (practically 36) that he went the distance without giving up a set the entire tournament.
19 (and 2)
Entering 2017, who would have thought Federer could win another grand slam title after taking 6 months off after Wimbledon last summer? Not many, including Federer himself. But TWO?? Winning in Australia against arch-rival Rafael Nadal would have been enough to classify Roger as the best ever in most experts’ minds, and it was certainly enough to make the 2017 season a successful one for the Swiss Wizard. After the flawless run at the All England Club, Federer now has, a record, 19 grand slams titles to his name.
It’s been fourteen years since Federer first hoisted the Wimbledon trophy as champion. Many tennis careers don’t make it fourteen years, period. Federer’s longevity is something to be marveled at. In all the years he spent completely demolishing the competition and making quick work of all his “wannabe rivals”, Federer may be playing his best tennis right now.
The world number 1 ranking is within reach for Federer, but it doesn’t seem to be something he’s putting much emphasis on right now. If you listen to his comments with ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi after Sunday’s final, Federer wasn’t dismissive of the ranking so much as he was honest about where his head is at this stage in his career. He’s less than a month from turning 36; he’s got 2 grand slams under his belt this year; he’s won 19 slams; and he understands the importance of being rested and healthy. It wouldn’t surprise me one bit to see Federer take off quite a bit of time over the next month and then again in the fall after the U.S. Open — which I wouldn’t bet my house on him playing in by the way.
Feedback is always welcome through the website in the comments box or on my Twitter feed, @brian22goodwin.