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 Roger Federer's outrageous Wimbledon win marks his
scepo
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 03:11 PM
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Roger Federer's outrageous Wimbledon win marks his place in tennis and sporting history

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Photo: Swiss master Roger Federer has become the greatest of all time while letting his tennis do the talking. (AP: Tim Ireland)


It is quite possible there is something wrong with Roger Federer. Loud snorer? Lousy tipper? Doesn't turn his phone off at the movies?

But as the greatest male tennis player of this or any era again suspended disbelief by winning a record eighth Wimbledon title one month before his 36th birthday with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory over Croatian Marin Cilic, nothing sprang to mind.

This, as much as Federer's ornate game, is what continues to make the peerless Swiss a wonderfully refreshing presence in the often rancorous world of professional sport.

Because Federer conducts himself in the same sublimely serene way he plays, we have appreciated his incredible talent, his historic achievements and now his unexpected renaissance without being sidetracked by the egocentric strutting and ostentatious trappings adopted by so many superstars.

In the 14 years between Federer's first Wimbledon title and his eighth, nothing Federer has said or done off the court has been the source of more fascination than what he has done on it.

This might be the only thing, outside his play, that makes him outrageous.
Yet during the glorious encore that has so far taken in grand slam victories at Melbourne Park and Wimbledon, we have learnt something new about a player who has become as familiar as the net posts. The man with the velvet veneer is as tough as old leather.

As Federer recently told ESPN Magazine, the Australian Open victory that started this lap of honour was as much an act of willpower as sheer ability.
Trailing 1-3 in the fifth set against his nemesis Rafael Nadal, Federer felt heavy and deflated.

Yet he summoned the mental and physical willpower to overcome the Spaniard in a moment that might be the most momentous in his career — quite something, given choosing Federer's greatest moment is like choosing Donald Trump's most inflammatory tweet.

Age, injuries no barrier to Federer


That victory was at the start of a tail-wagging season in which Federer has not merely eked out a few more titles, but played with the freedom and flourish that seemed permanently curtailed by knee and back injuries.

This Wimbledon title was not the defiant act of some punch-drunk pug somehow grappling opponents into submission with ringcraft and bloody-minded desperation. Federer was at the very height of his powers, not losing a single set on his way to the podium.

Only in the first few games did Cilic have a foothold in the final, and the green rug was pulled swiftly from beneath him.

It's Fed ... and the rest

Grand Slam titles (men)


Roger Federer (SWI) - 19

Rafael Nadal (SPA) - 15

Pete Sampras (USA) - 14

Roy Emerson (AUS) - 12

Novak Djokovic (SER) - 12

Rod Laver (AUS) - 11

Bjorn Borg (SWE) - 11

Bill Tilden (USA) - 10

A drop shot that spun back toward the net like a Rory McIlroy wedge, a couple of backhands that would have left a dint in granite and the Croatian was left physically and emotionally broken.

So much so that, regrettably, this Wimbledon final might be remembered by some as much for what Federer did to his opponent as the way he did it.

The harrowing sight of Cilic sobbing in his chair midway through the second set was a reminder of the crushing pressure and expectation that Federer has handled with unusual equanimity throughout his career.

As intriguing as Federer's physical rehabilitation is how he has maintained his motivation. He has two sets of twins to occupy his time and (as Bernie Tomic kindly reminded us) $500 million in earnings and endorsements, meaning material gains have long ceased to be a factor.

You sense in the wide-eyed wonder Federer sometimes expresses about his own game, he now plays tennis for the same reason Yo-Yo Ma plays the cello — just to experience that sense of near perfection few will ever know.

There were also a few still unbroken records to keep Federer interested.

With his eighth Wimbledon title, he broke a tie between Pete Sampras and William Renshaw (the Englishman who won his seven titles when the courtesy car was a horse and coach).

Roger's Wimbledon choice pays off

In a sense, Federer cherry-picked this Wimbledon title.

Ivan Lendl famously bypassed the 1990 French Open, a tournament he almost certainly would have won, to train on grass in Australia hoping to win Wimbledon. He lost in the semi-finals.

Conversely, Federer bypassed a French Open where he would have almost certainly lost to conserve his energy for Wimbledon, where one after another his storied rivals, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray, succumbed to injury and exhaustion.

But no one has earnt the right to choose his tournaments like Federer, and no crowds could be more pleased to see greatness in their midst like those at Melbourne Park and Wimbledon this year.

This has been the beauty and the wonder of Federer's career, the gradual — and now undeniable — realisation that what we are seeing is better than anything the game has seen.

The inarguable statistical case is, if anything, exceeded by the anecdotal evidence. Over 14 years, from Wimbledon win number one in 2003 to Wimbledon win number eight in 2017 — and the 18 other grand slam titles between — a generation of fans has born witness to his excellence.

The only relevant comparisons are now with superstars from other sports. And even then, the question is not whether the name Roger Federer belongs with Muhammad Ali, Michael Jordan, Donald Bradman, Jack Nicklaus, Pele et al.

Rather, it is which other great names belong beside his.



http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-07-17/hinds-fascinating-federer-continues-glorious-encore-wimbledon/8714106


I realise that I am the only tennis fan onsite, but I can and do appreciate talent in almost any sport. For example JT, Cronk, Smith and Slater in rugby league. Greg Norman, Tiger Woods and others in golf. Usain Bolt in sprinting. The lists can go on and on.

I sat up and watched this match last night. I was not disappointed. I can only marvel at the man, admire his ability and his demeanour on and off the court for so many years.

In January this year I thought he had no hope of winning another major. I honestly thought he should hang up the racquet and retire. But here we are in July and he has won two more this year. To be fair I didn't think Nadal had any hope of winning another one either, but he won the French yet again.

For a long long time I considered "Rocket" Rod Laver the greatest tennis player of all time. I can now only concede that Roger is the GOAT.

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Alicia
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 04:08 PM
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Scepo, I must take issue with "the greatest tennis player of all time. Margaret Court (Smith) has won 24 Grand Slam Singles titles. http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/rolleyes.gif http://fairdinkumnewschat.b1.jcink.com/uploads/fairdinkumnewschat/Smiley_winknod.gif http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/wink.gif
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Charles
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 05:09 PM
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Good point Alicia. However, there can be no debating the fact that Roger is the greatest player of all time in Men's tennis. His demeanor on and off the court is a wonderful roll model to all. It's a pity a couple of players, who shall be nameless, don't follow his example.

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Alicia
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 05:19 PM
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I'm just being pedantic Charles. Speaking of which, did you read Zoltan Kovacs in The Weekend West? I have been noticing "bored of" for a few months now, but was amazed to see it had made it's way into print in some of the books I have read recenlly, language changes are moving really fast these days. http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/wink.gif http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/cool.gif http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/rolleyes.gif
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lee
 Posted: Jul 17 2017, 06:39 PM
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Yes. Ahead of Laver who was only banned from 5 years of Grand Slams.

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Flin
 Posted: Jul 18 2017, 07:59 AM
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I used to like tennis but with all the brats, grunters/screamers and bad sports who now dominate the game, Federer. is the only one I enjoy.
Our current so called stars are a national embarrassment. and it started here.

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scepo
 Posted: Jul 18 2017, 10:41 AM
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I agree with your sentiments Flin.

Actually I think it started before Spewitt though. I suspect Pat Crash may have started the rot, then Spewitt took it to another level. Now Kyrgios and Tomic have taken it further. We do have some well behaved young players though, unfortunately they do not have quite as much ability but hopefully they will get there.

Yes the Rocket is the only player (male or female http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/wink.gif ) to win the Grand Slam of tennis twice. That is the proper Grand Slam (all four majors in the same calendar year)

He did that first time as an amateur, second time as a pro.

By his own admission when he turned pro, he found he was way behind a lot of the other pros and had to improve a lot to be successful. Who knows what his (and others) records would have been if there had never been those gap years where pro's and amatuers played separately.

It's always difficult to compare players (of any sport) from different eras but Laver has long considered Fed to be the greatest ever. I think he is a pretty good judge of tennis players.

Rod was at Wimbledon again this year. You could see that he was pleased with the result. http://fairdinkumnewschat.com/biggrin.gif

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Some are willing to work, the rest are willing to let them!

The older I get, the better I was.
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