Switzerland’s Roger Federer and Criatia’s Marin Cilic. Pics/AFP
Five years after his last Wimbledon triumph, Roger Federer can capture a record eighth All England Club title Sunday and become the tournament’s oldest men’s champion of the modern era.
With his 36th birthday fast approaching, the evergreen Swiss will comfortably succeed Arthur Ashe, who was almost 32 when he won in 1975, as Wimbledon’s most senior champion.
Grand Slam No. 19
Victory over Croatian giant Marin Cilic will also give him a 19th career Grand Slam title and second in three majors this year after sweeping to a fifth Australian Open in January following a six-month absence.
“I was hoping to be in good shape when the grass court season came around. This is something I was working towards, Wimbledon, to be in good shape. I’m happy it’s paying off here now,” said Federer who also pocketed back-to-back Masters at Indian Wells and Miami as well as a ninth Halle grass court crown.
Today’s match will be Federer’s 102nd at the tournament and his 29th final at the majors. “It makes me happy, making history here at Wimbledon. I love this tournament. All my dreams came true here. To have another chance to go for No. 8 now, is a great feeling,” said Federer, who has been tied with Pete Sampras on seven Wimbledon titles since beating Andy Murray in the 2012 final.
Meanwhile, Cilic, 28, won his only Slam in New York three years ago, he demolished Federer in straight sets in the semi-finals. Cilic is only the second Croatian man to reach the Wimbledon final after Goran Ivanisevic, his former coach, who swept to a memorable title victory in 2001. A win on today will also make him the first Wimbledon champion outside of Federer, Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal since Lleyton Hewitt triumphed in 2002. However, he has only won one of his last 12 matches against a top-five at Slams and that was over Federer in New York three years ago.
Mountain to climb: Cilic
Cilic has fired 130 aces at Wimbledon this year and dropped just 10 service games. “This is Roger’s home court, the place where he feels the best and knows that he can play the best game. Obviously I’m going to look back, 12 months ago I was one point away from winning a match against him here, but it’s still a big mountain to climb,” said Cilic.
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