Tue, Jul 18, 2017 - Page 16 News List

I never dreamed of eighth title: Federer

GRAND SLAM NO. 19:The Swiss star became the first man since Bjorn Borg to win the title without dropping a set and at 35 the oldest champion of the modern era

AFP and AP, LONDON

Switzerland’s Roger Federer poses with the trophy after winning the Wimbledon men’s singles final against Marin Cilic of Croatia in London on Sunday.

Photo: Reuters

Roger Federer on Sunday admitted that he never thought he would be a record eight-time Wimbledon champion and would even have laughed if he was told he would win two majors this year.

The Swiss star, who turns 36 in three weeks, eased past the mark of seven All England Club Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club titles he had shared with Pete Sampras since 2012 with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win over injury-hit Marin Cilic in the men’s singles final.

It was 16 years ago when Federer famously defeated Sampras at Wimbledon to announce himself as a tennis star in the making, but it was not until 2003 that he captured his first title.

Now he has 19 majors, four clear of closest rival Rafael Nadal on the all-time list.

“I didn’t think I was going to be this successful after beating Pete here,” said Federer, who also won a fifth Australian Open in January. “I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon final and have a chance to win the tournament. Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for.”

Federer’s record triumph in southwest London took his career trophy collection to a staggering 93.

The straight-sets cruise meant he was the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win the title without dropping a set. He is also the oldest Wimbledon men’s champion of the modern era.

“I’m incredibly surprised how well this year is going, how well I’m feeling, how I’m managing tougher situations, where my level of play is on a daily basis,” Federer said. “I am surprised that it’s this good.”

Federer said he fully intends to defend his Wimbledon title next year, despite delivering what many fans feared sounded like a farewell speech to Centre Court.

“We never know what happens,” said the Swiss star, who had told the crowd in his victory speech: “I hope to be back, I hope this wasn’t my last match.”

He later clarified his remarks.

“Honestly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I think a year ahead of time, you know, with my schedule, fitness schedule, tournaments I would like to play,” he said. “So I totally see myself playing here this time next year. There’s never a guarantee, especially not at 35, 36, but the goal is definitely to be here again next year to try and defend.”

In the mixed doubles final, Martina Hingis and Jamie Murray claimed the title by beating Henri Kontinen and Heather Watson 6-4, 6-4.

Murray had not played mixed doubles since last year’s French Open, but when Hingis contacted him before Wimbledon, he could not resist.

“I mean, the [men’s] doubles for me is obviously my biggest goal of the year,” Murray said. “It’s going to take something pretty special to kind of maybe potentially take my eye off the ball with it.”

Hingis, who has won five Grand Slam singles titles, 11 doubles and six mixed doubles, usually gets her way.

“I’m not used to ‘no,’” Hingis said. “No, I don’t take ‘no’ as an answer pretty much.”

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