Roger Federer, who won Wimbledon at 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 27 and 30, won it again Sunday at 35, further cramming his name into a men's tennis record book in which it appears almost as rampantly as it would in a biography. With his 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 passage through the sporadically scary but diminished Croatian, Marin Cilic, Federer not only surpassed all other male Wimbledon champions with his eight titles. At 35 years, 342 days old, he became the oldest Wimbledon champion in the Open Era.
Even all that wouldn't cover the milestones, as it seldom does with Federer. He also extended his Grand Slam title total to 19 to arrange an arrival in New York in late August with a stunning yet realistic chance at 20, which would have seemed farfetched only six months ago. Back in mid-January, Federer had just come off a six-month hiatus in deference to a left knee that kept yelling for attention on court while he tried to plot strategic points. With that knee rested, Federer up and won the Australian Open from a No. 17 seed, and set off on a year he has called "a fairy tale."
That tale spun itself even flusher on Sunday against an opponent whose recent intersections with Federer suggested trouble could have lurked. Cilic routed Federer in the 2014 U.S. Open semifinals and cornered him with a two-set deficit plus three match points in the 2016 Wimbledon quarterfinals. On both those occasions, Cilic leapt out ahead. On this one, he did not.
He almost did, finding the final's first break point as Federer served at 1-2 early on, but he took a 96-mph second serve and backhanded it promptly into the net. Almost right from there, the 2014 U.S. Open champion ranked No. 6 in the world began to descend into an unforeseeable state where he barely could seem to direct a ball into play. By the start of the third set, he had a medical timeout as a trainer attended to his left foot.