The Swiss master marks a perfect ending to the 2017 Grass court season with a resounding victory over Croatian Marin Cilic in a 101-minute display of his extraordinary class and supreme elegance, in a tournament which shall widely be regarded as the finest of his career.
“He is playing better than ever,” observes Boris Becker in an interview, minutes after the match. There is no talk of vintage Federer this time. No reminiscences of the his ‘strongest in the sport’ forehands, sharp backhands and almost supernatural footwork and agility of the 2005s, no anecdotes of the time when he was at the top of the rankings for a record period of 302 weeks, or when he won at the All England Club consecutively for five year. He wafted across the hallowed Centre Court across the fortnight, almost like poetry swaying from one end to another, like the summer breeze reigning all over the court and hitting the ball to places unprecedented to the opponent with pinpoint precision. This is the rise of an all new Federer, with the same grace and allurement but the best ever techniques, fluidity, temperament, techniques and, above all, the hunger to win. As the three generation of Federers bore witness to the culmination of one of the finest runs in the tennis history, Roger further consolidated his claim as the greatest sportsman of all time, not only on the lawn tennis court as he became the first person after Bjorn Born to have won the Wimbledon without having dropped a set across the tournament.
The final was just an extension of the flawless game he had played across the tournament. Marin Cilic looked a man with a purpose, but with his game imposingly compromised under the shadow of the talismanic presence on the other side of the court. The long serves and forehands were nowhere to be seen, with just one ace in the entire match. He only succumbed to his foot blister, and metaphorically to the Swiss master’s greatness, as Federer gradually crushed the Croatian under his relentlessness, with commanding backhands, demoralising with his regular detours around the net and breaking Cilic’s serve with an ironical brutality. He hit as many as 23 winners to demolish the Croatian resistance 6-3, 6-1, 6-4. His eyes were always on the trophy, right since his first unseeded opponent and right through Milos Raonic and Tomas Berdych, as he assailed their resistances, Cilic only a continuation of the routine proceedings.
This is no resurrection. This is just development. This is just how the almost superhuman of beings redefine the perceptions of perfection, and the world becomes a bit luckier to bear witness to their miracles. As for now, we can not help but fathom what magic is he going to conjure next. What after his 20th Grand Slam at US Open this year? What after he has played beyond 40?
Feature Image Credits: Sports Illustrated