Roger Federer shed tears of joy as the Swiss star hailed his record eighth Wimbledon title as one of the most magical moments of his astounding career.
Federer crushed injury-hit Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in Sunday’s final to move past Pete Sampras and William Renshaw into sole possession of first place on the list of male Wimbledon champions.
The emotional 35-year-old, who now has 19 Grand Slam titles, is the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era and the first since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to go through the entire tournament without dropping a set.
In the five years since he last won Wimbledon, Federer had suffered two All England Club final defeats at the hands of Novak Djokovic, but with his title rivals falling by the wayside this time, he has enjoyed a serene path to glory.
Even by Federer’s sky-high standards, his record triumph was an especially golden moment and the Swiss star was in tears as he waved at his wife Mirka and four children before the Centre Court trophy presentation.
‘Holding the trophy now, after not dropping a set in the tournament, it’s magical really. I can’t believe it yet. It’s too much,’ Federer said.
‘It’s disbelief I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in another final after last year. I had some tough ones in the finals, losing two against Novak (Djokovic).
‘But I always believed. I kept on believing and dreaming I could get back.
‘Here am I today with the eighth. It’s fantastic, if you keep believing you can go far in your life.’
Federer was aided by the foot injury that left Cilic hobbled from midway through the first set and reduced the Croat to tears in the second set.
Expressing sympathy for Cilic’s plight, Federer said: ‘It’s cruel sometimes. He fought well. He’s a hero, congrats on a wonderful tournament Marin.’
Having won the Australian Open in January, Federer took the clay-court season off to rest his body ahead of Wimbledon and his decision has paid rich dividends.
‘I’ve got to take more time off! I’ll be gone again for the next six months! I don’t know if it will work as well again,’ Federer said with a grin.
Having played so impressively to reach his first Wimbledon final, it was a bitter conclusion for Cilic and the former US Open champion said his injury left him unable to repel the Federer barrage.
‘I gave my best. That’s all I could do,’ Cilic said.
‘I never gave up when started a match. That was my idea today. That’s what I did throughout my career.
‘I had an amazing journey here. I played the best tennis of my life. I really want to thank my team, they gave so much strength to me.
‘It was really tough today. I’m definitely hoping I will come back here (to the final) one more time.’
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