After Roger Federer closed out a Wimbledon final that was more of a coronation than a contest with an ace, he sat in his changeover chair and wiped away tears.
That is when it hit him: His wait for record-breaking No 8 was over. Until then, Federer wasn't focused on the notion of winning the grass-court tournament more often than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877. All he'd been concerned with, consumed with, was being healthy enough to compete at a high level and, he hoped, to win a title, regardless of what the total count would be.
Capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set, Federer won his eighth Wimbledon trophy and 19th Grand Slam championship overall by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 in merely 1 hour, 41 minutes on Sunday.
His first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003, and was followed by others in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won again in 2009 and 2012. But then he lost finals in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic.
He couldn't be sure another final, let alone title, was possible a year ago, when he lost in the semifinals, then took the rest of 2016 off to let his surgically repaired left knee heal.
In a turn-back-the-clock moment, he faced rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final and, with a fifth-set comeback, won. It was Federer's 18th Grand Slam title, adding to his own record, and first in 4½ years. Those who had written Federer off needed to grab their erasers.
Yes, Federer is back to being supreme in tennis, lording over the sport the way no man has.
With inputs from AP
Updated Date: Jul 17, 2017 20:56 PM