‘La Decima’ is in reach: Three talking points from Roger Federer’s record 8th Wimbledon victory

The Doc Roar Pro

By The Doc, The Doc is a Roar Pro

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    On a humid Sunday afternoon, Roger Federer strolled to the easiest of victories over Marin Cilic, in the process sealing his eighth Wimbledon title and 19th Grand Slam win overall.

    After steamrolling his way to the final without dropping a set, many felt that Cilic would have the weapons to force a contest. Nothing could have been further from the truth, with injuries and poor play preventing Cilic from ever getting a foothold in the match.

    Federer broke early in the first set and never looked back, winning 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in under two hours.

    Here are three points from the match:

    1. Cilic’s poor play compounded by injury
    Even if fully fit, there was a big doubt that Cilic could have beaten Federer. Carrying a foot injury impeded his ability to provide a contest.

    Whether nerves played a part is hard to know but this would have been the biggest match of Cilic’s career since his maiden US open triumph many years ago. Cilic knew he had to be aggressive but he needed to work harder to rally and solidify his ground game before attacking – unfortunately, he did neither.

    Federer gave him multiple looks by varying his topspin shots and using the slice and this added to Cilic’s struggles. Cilic bludgeons his forehand, and hitting it very flat leaves him very little margin for error. His unforced errors flowed from both sides but particularly from the forehand wing.

    He briefly changed tactics to serve and volley and this did not work either. We didn’t see the best of Cilic last night, but one hopes he can back up his outstanding efforts from Wimbledon at the US Open.

    2. The Federer return of serve is one his great strengths
    Perhaps this is stating the obvious but among the remainder of his majestic all-court game, this gets relatively overlooked. Federer always finds the right return – a shorter second serves provided a chance to be aggressive and he hit a beautiful off backhand in the third set.

    When returning the first serve, 200km/h serves are blocked back, which maximises his chance of getting the return in and he is rarely punished due to the dearth of serve-volleyers in the game.

    It is not as powerful as the driven returns that Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic consistently produce but no less effective, and Federer has used these tactics to see off many big servers over the years.

    3. The La Decima is within reach…
    Federer’s record eighth Wimbledon title takes him above Pete Sampras as the player to have won the most Wimbledon titles.

    At 35 and playing some of the best tennis of his career, a ninth and tenth Wimbledon title is not out of reach. The biggest factor is health; can Federer stay fit and maintain the mobility that defines his game? If he can, anything is possible.

    The next set of challengers to the ‘Big 4’ seems further away than ever and at present Rafael Nadal Djokovic remain his biggest obstacles.

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    The Crowd Says (21)

    • Roar Pro

      July 17th 2017 @ 8:01am
      Hugh Clarke said | July 17th 2017 @ 8:01am | ! Report

      What is always incredible to me is how he often out-aces the biggest servers on tour. His return is under appreciated (most parts of his game are!) but his serve is lethal in the hardest of ways. It’s not speed but variety and precision that gets you. Even his second serves are well placed to cramp the big man and void him of space to swing, every spot is hit with spin and control and a variety of pace. A true masterclass from a man at the peak of his powers

      • Roar Guru

        July 17th 2017 @ 2:00pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | July 17th 2017 @ 2:00pm | ! Report

        Often a big part of that is that the big servers will have less aces against him because he’ll get his racquet onto balls that most others wouldn’t. But yes, you don’t have to serve 250km/h to serve aces!

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 5:25pm
        The Doc said | July 17th 2017 @ 5:25pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the comment Hugh. Great points. brilliant first serve – can go any direction and hit essentially the different serves with the same ball toss.

    • July 17th 2017 @ 8:18am
      ohtani's jacket said | July 17th 2017 @ 8:18am | ! Report

      If you had told me at the beginning of the year that Roger Federer would win 2 Grand Slam titles I would never have believed you. It’s remarkable, really. Federer is unashamedly one of my biggest sporting heroes. I thought he had his swan song in 2012 when he won Wimbledon and reclaimed the World No.1 spot to break Sampras’ record. It’s incredible what’s happening five years later. His love for tennis and his self-belief are staggering. He has to be the favorite for the US Open too especially if Murray and Djokovic take time off for their injuries. I’m running out of adjectives and need to stop gushing. Amazing.

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 5:28pm
        The Doc said | July 17th 2017 @ 5:28pm | ! Report

        Great comment Ohtani’s jacket. Cant argue with any of that. Amazing resurgence after the domination of Novak and Murray

      • July 20th 2017 @ 10:08am
        Riccardo said | July 20th 2017 @ 10:08am | ! Report

        1976 OJ.

        The last time anyone, Borg, won Wimbledon without dropping a set.

        To do that since his resurgence? Just amazing, the mental strength and as you say his love of the game.

        Surely one of the greatest athletes of all time.

        A personal hero for me too but mine is in the aesthetic. I just love the grace and sublime skill he brings to the game. He’s only got 8 doubles titles but if he didn’t have to devote so much time to remaining a top 5 singles player he would be an outstanding doubles player.

        Don’t stop gushing mate. Enjoy his tenure; we may not see this level of tennis for some time…

    • July 17th 2017 @ 9:08am
      BrainsTrust said | July 17th 2017 @ 9:08am | ! Report

      Federer has been all class but the rest of the tennis has been extremely ordinary.
      I though it has been the most embarassing Wimbledon of all time for tennis.
      The only real point of interest in the last two grand slams would have been to see Federer play Nadal in the French Open.
      The great promise of the Australian Open was Federer and Nadal being back and spicing things up and that had some great tennis.Instead its been one step forward and two steps back.

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 5:33pm
        The Doc said | July 17th 2017 @ 5:33pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the comment Brainstrust. Fair comment. Im not sure I agree that its been the most embarrassing wimbledons of all time. There were some big upsets and great runs by some of the more unheralded players on tour – Muller beating Rafa, Cilics run to the final, Querrey beating Tsonga/Murray and then pushing Cilic. Federer’s sublime play throughout was obviously the highlight. Often Grand slams can go 2 ways – you get the favourites and top seeds all winning through a boring set of lead up matches and everyone is happy to see the big guns go it at later on. Sometimes you see a bunch of upsets which leads to some anti-climatic matches later on in the tournament which is what happened here. I think it is this balance that makes it so interesting. And we get to sit back and marvel at the amazing qualities of Rafa and Roger, both winning grandslams without losing a set

    • July 17th 2017 @ 9:40am
      clipper said | July 17th 2017 @ 9:40am | ! Report

      The first 4 games were pretty close, but after the break in the first set, Cilic never looked likely to take it. Federer saved his best for the final, after a slight dip in the semis. Quite remarkable to go through without losing a set, especially having to battle a cold earlier.

    • July 17th 2017 @ 10:19am
      jamesb said | July 17th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

      At the start of the year, Djokovic and Nadal were within striking distance of overtaking Federer.

      Federer- 17 (35)
      Nadal- 14 (30)
      Djokovic- 12 (29)

      Now nearly seven months later, Federer has skipped away, Nadal is still clinging, while for Djokovic, he hasn’t moved:

      Federer- 19 (35)
      Nadal – 15 (31)
      Djokovic- 12 (30)

      It’s so remarkable that Federer has won 2 grand slams and in a few weeks time, he will turn 36! In the Australian Open, he had to beat four top ten players to win it (Berdych, Nishikori, Wawrinka and Nadal) and with Wimbledon, he didn’t drop a set.

      No doubt, Federer has changed his preparations. He didn’t take part in the clay court season which included the French Open. He is playing less, and is more selective of which tournaments he participates.

      Federers style of play is more finesse, laidback artistry kind of way, where he doesn’t put as much stress on his body. Meanwhile, Nadal is more physical, and Djokovic is probably the best defender of all three, where he will chase down every ball.

      But with Nadal and Djokovic now in their 30’s, both have to change their game to remain competitive. Nadal may continue to win every French Open for the next five years to overtake Federer. And that is a tough ask. While with Djokovic, at 12 grand slams, he is too far back.

      Anyway, today is all about Federer. I don’t think anyone will reach his mark of 19. Than again, he may still add to that tally. IMO, he is the greatest tennis player of all time.


      • Roar Guru

        July 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm
        Chris Kettlewell said | July 17th 2017 @ 2:04pm | ! Report

        Years ago people were saying he should retire, when Djokovic first passed him to take the #1 ranking away. But he’s kept working on his game, always looking for ways to improve. He’s changed his racquet, looked for different coaches to help him add different facets to his game that he feels he could improve, and now he’s reaping the benefits.

        Don’t know what’s happened to Djokovic. He went from a period where he pretty much couldn’t lose for 12 months to suddenly just falling apart. Nadal is 4 years younger than Fed, but you almost feel like his body is probably not going to last as long.

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 5:39pm
        The Doc said | July 17th 2017 @ 5:39pm | ! Report

        Thanks for the comment Jamesb. You make some excellent points. Hard to compare eras but I personally agree that he is the GOAT for many reasons – number of titles, career grand slam, duration of career, playing in an era where the professionalism, fitness is extraordinarily high and the fact that ATP players are coming from a much bigger spread of countries than in the past.
        Amazing what a difference a year can make, go back 1 year Novak wins 2 grandslams in a row and completes his career grandslam and looks set to be the first player to win a calender grandslam – now he is struggling (injury? motivation?) and the tennis world has shifted back to Rafa/Roger.

      • July 18th 2017 @ 12:46am
        express34texas said | July 18th 2017 @ 12:46am | ! Report

        You’re right about stress on the body. Cilic said he got his blister during the Querrey match. If he was able to beat Querrey quicker, he probably never gets the blister. I doubt this affected his play much, and I still can’t see Fed dropping a set even against a healthy Cilic. Even at 35, almost 36, Fed plays so efficiently usually with as little of stress on his body as possible, and less than the other top guys.

        Nadal is close in number, still only being 4 back of Fed’s 19 GS total, but I don’t consider him very close in reality. 10 of his 15 is at the FO, very top heavy at one event, and the FO is probably the least important GS. Whereas, even if you take away Fed’s 8 Wimbys, he still has 11. Other than the FO, Fed is 1st all-time at Wimby/USO/Year-End Final, and 2nd all-time at AO.

        • July 18th 2017 @ 10:07am
          clipper said | July 18th 2017 @ 10:07am | ! Report

          What puzzles me about the blister is that, if it was so bad, why did he have an hour and a half practice session before the final – surely the best remedy would be to rest it and medicate after the Querry match.

          • July 18th 2017 @ 1:49pm
            express34texas said | July 18th 2017 @ 1:49pm | ! Report

            Agree, that would be puzzling if he did. I think most of the guys do something similar, which doesn’t make sense. Given that they’re playing everyday, I’d think 10-15 minutes would be plenty if one of them were injured. And then you always have a 10-minute warmup on court. I wonder what Djoker did before his QF with Berdcych. And how did his elbow get so much worse between his 4th round match and his QF match? And I bet he wouldn’t have retired if he won the first set and was up a break in the 2nd to Berdych either.

            Fed still has never retired I’m aware of and sometimes has played hurt for the fans. Regardless of how good he is, that’s great for the sport when guys are responsible like that. Sure, sometimes injures happen, but players should tough it more like Murray did vs Querrey.

            • July 18th 2017 @ 2:02pm
              clipper said | July 18th 2017 @ 2:02pm | ! Report

              The commentators made a big deal of it early in the match (before the breakdown), saying it was part of Bjorkman’s strategy – maybe it was a bit tender and the practice aggravated it, maybe it started flaring up after the practice and got worse in the match – it was strapped up, so must’ve been an issue before the game.

    • July 17th 2017 @ 4:30pm
      Warren said | July 17th 2017 @ 4:30pm | ! Report

      Wimbledon post code is SW19 (should this be still winning #19?)

      Federer you are a legend and your leadership and humility are too be admired. if only the enfant terrible (Aussie twins) could learn from you.

      • Roar Pro

        July 17th 2017 @ 5:43pm
        The Doc said | July 17th 2017 @ 5:43pm | ! Report

        Haha – yes interesting point with the post code. Yes – so much talent. Hopefully Kyrgios can mature and reach the potential that he has. Tomic is perhaps too far gone – antipathy over such a prolonged period is never a good sign.

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