Swiss ace swept the Croat aside in straight sets which left his opponent in tears
ROGER FEDERER tamed tearful Marin Cilic to make tennis history.
Federer claimed his EIGHTH Wimbledon singles title, the most by any man in any era, after Cilic broke down in tears during the second set.
The big Croat had a problem with his left foot which was later treated at a medical timeout.
And the strange sight of a Wimbledon finalist in such distress took some of the gloss off Federer’s remarkable achievement.
When Sabine Lisicki had a meltdown against Marion Bartoli in the ladies’ final of 2013, the tears came out of frustration and despair at how the match had turned.
Cilic’s issue appeared to be purely physical and he avoided becoming only the second player ever to retire in a Wimbledon final.
But he could not deny Federer a triumphant return to winning ways.
Speaking after his victory, Federer was quick to pay tribute to his opponent.
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He said: “It is cruel sometimes but he fought well and is a hero. So congratulations on a wonderful tournament.
“He should be really proud, this is a special occasion. It is cruel when you don’t feel well in the final and I hope we can play down the road.
“I will have to take more time off! I don’t know. I will have to take another six months.
“It feels great being healthy, I’ve worked so hard in the last year, holding the trophy after not dropping a set is magical. I can’t believe it. It is too much really.
“It’s just belief I can achieve such feats. I was never sure I’d be here for another final after last year. I always believed I can come back and do it again. If you believe you can go far in your life. I kept on believing and dreaming.”
The first set, at least, was competitive.
Federer had to save a break point in the fourth game as Cilic made a confident start.
But in the fifth he set up a break chance of his own with some fantastic play which had the crowd on its feet.
And Cilic conceded another break, and with it the set, in the ninth game, despite going 30/0 ahead.
The Croat was soon behind in the second, making three groundstroke errors from 30/15 up to hand Federer the game.
After the Swiss had held serve to take a 3-0 lead, Cilic broke down while sitting on his chair.
Roger Federer at Wimbledon
1999 – first round
2000 – first round
2001 – quarter-finals
2002 – first round
2003 – winner
2004 – winner
2005 – winner
2006 – winner
2007 – winner
2008 – final
2009 – winner
2010 – quarter-finals
2011 – quarter-finals
2012 – winner
2013 – second round
2014 – final
2015 – final
2016 – semi-final
2017 – winner
After a brief conversation with the trainer, he sat with a towel over his head to compose himself and when he belatedly answered the umpire’s call of “time”, the crowd gave him a rousing reception.
But Federer showed no mercy, losing only two points on his serve in the whole set and taking Cilic’s again. The Croat appeared to be treated for blisters during the break.
It seemed to do him good and the third set was even for a while, but yet another forehand error by Cilic gave Federer the chance to break for a 4-3 lead, and he took it.
The Swiss then served his way into the record books with an ace, claiming his 19th Grand Slam and continuing a quite remarkable comeback at the age of 35.
But it was a tough day at the office for Cilic although he admitted he played the best tennis of his life to reach the final.
An emotional Cilic said: “I never give up in a match. I gave it my best – it’s all I can do.
“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.
“Of course, to all my fans in Croatia, it was really tough today. I gave it my all. I will hope I come back here another time.”
Federer had the pleasure of meeting the Duchess of Cambridge after the match where the pair shared three kisses.
Kate and William were in high spirits as they were snapped laughing and joking in the Royal Box before witnessed Federer become the oldest man in the open era to life the Wimbledon trophy.
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