(Wimbledon) Dominant Federer fires 23 winners

Sports | 17 Jul 2017 1:11 pm

The eighth title at Wimbledon was all Roger Federer (pictured), who had been tied at seven championships with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what's still officially called Gentlemen's Singles.

Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, when the previous year's winner advanced automatically to the final. 

With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air Sunday, Federer's early play was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the "GOAT'' _ Greatest of All Time _ admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts to this day. 

It was Federer, not Marin Cilic, who double-faulted in his first two service games. And it was Federer, not Cilic, who faced the initial break point, in the fourth game. But Cilic netted a return, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve. He would never be confronted with another break point. 

"I gave it my best,'' Cilic said. "That's all I could do.'' 

In the next game, Federer broke to lead 3-2. He broke again to take that set when Cilic double-faulted, walked to the changeover and slammed his racket. Cilic sat and covered his head with a white towel. 

With 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 foot's pain as the idea that he could not play well enough to present a challenge. 

"Very tough emotionally,'' said Cilic, whose foot was re-taped by a trainer after the second set. "I knew that I cannot give my best on the court.'' 

It might not have mattered. Federer was, as he'd been all tournament, flawless, the first man in 41 years to win Wimbledon without ceding a set. Against Cilic, he had 23 winners, only eight unforced errors. 

This caps a remarkable reboot for Federer, who departed Wimbledon a year ago with a lot of doubts: his body was letting him down for the first time in his career. He skipped the Rio Olympics, the U.S. Open and everything else in an attempt to try to get healthy. It worked.-AP

 

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