7DAYS applauds...Roger Federer
There's no other tennis player this sports desk loves more than Roger Federer, but we have to come clean.
Heading into Wimbledon the thought of writing the Swiss maestro’s Grand Slam obituary at the conclusion of the grass-court season did cross our minds once or twice.
As much as we dreaded such a scenario, it appeared that the great one’s time had finally come to an end.
Into his fourth decade, Federer hadn’t won a major in two and a half years. And as good as he’d played over the past 12 months, he just couldn’t find that extra level whenever he met Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal at one of the ‘big four’ events.
Our fears only heightened when he dropped the first two sets in his third-round match with Julien Benneteau, and having scraped through that encounter, a niggling back injury then threatened to derail his chances.
We needn’t have worried, though.
When the tournament moved into the business end it could’ve been 2005 all over again, such was the way the ‘Fed Express’ elegantly dissected two of the world’s best players, in the prime of their careers no less.
In the semi-finals against Djokovic, he didn’t just beat the man who has taken the game by storm over the past 18 months - he dismantled him.
And in the decider against Andy Murray, he was coolness personified, shrugging off the home hope’s flying start with three sets of pure magic.
The thing that sets Federer apart from the rest is that he’s the total package, and it was all on display against Murray. The endless array of shots, played at every angle and speed possible, the graceful movement across court and the ability to remain calm under pressure - stuff that only the true champions posses.
He may not have had to face his great rival Nadal en route to the trophy, but it wouldn’t have mattered if he had. The way Federer was playing, not even the Spaniard could’ve stopped his march to glory.
With his 31st birthday soon approaching, Federer is back on top of the world with a record equaling seventh Wimbledon title extending his all-time Slam record to 17 (and counting). And in a month’s time at the same venue, who would back against him adding the one thing missing from his illustrious resume - an Olympic gold.
Certainly not us. Well, not anymore.