Federer notched a record eighth crown at the All England Club, surpassing Pete Sampras for solo first place on the all-time list. The Swiss added to his unprecedented Grand Slam titles haul, lifting a 19th trophy in total and second of the year, having prevailed at the Australian Open in January.
The World No. 5 will ascend two spots to No. 3 in the Emirates ATP Rankings on Monday, capping a remarkable return to the Top 3 for the first time in nearly one year. The oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open Era, the 35 year old added 2000 Emirates ATP Rankings points and £2,200,000 in prize money.
"It means the world to me to hold this trophy, particularly when I haven’t dropped a set," said Federer on BBC TV after the match. "It’s magical, I can’t believe it yet. It’s too much, really. It’s disbelief that I can achieve such heights. I wasn’t sure if I’d be in a final again after last year, especially some tough losses to Novak [Djokovic] in 2014 and 2015. But I kept believing and if you believe you can go a long way in your life. Here I am with an eighth title, it’s fantastic."
In claiming the title in straight sets, Federer became just the second player to reign at Wimbledon without dropping a set in the Open Era, with Bjorn Borg (1976). He also joins Borg and Rafael Nadal as the only men to race through a major tournament on multiple occasions. He previously did so a decade ago at the 2007 Australian Open.
Grand Slam Titles Won Without Dropping a Set
|1976 Wimbledon, 1978 & '80 Roland Garros
|2008, 2010 & '17 Roland Garros
|2007 Australian Open, 2017 Wimbledon
|1973 Roland Garros
|1971 Australian Open
It has been a vintage first half of the season for Federer, who improved to 9-0 against Top 10 opposition with a tour-leading fifth tour-level crown. Employing the same aggressive and authoritative gameplan that saw him prevail at Melbourne Park, seal the Sunshine Double in Indian Wells and Miami and notch a staggering ninth Gerry Weber Open title, Federer dropped just four service games in capturing the Wimbledon crown.
It was a slow start for Federer on a crisp Sunday afternoon, striking an early double fault on game point and conceding a break chance to Cilic. But the Croatian squandered the opportunity and the Swiss seized the initiative, breaking immediately in the next game after racing to a 0/40 lead. Federer would break again for the opener behind a ruthless returning display, surging to a one-set lead.
An edgy Cilic would continue to succumb to Federer's pressure from the baseline. A backhand wide gave the 35 year old a quick break in the second game of the second set. An emotional Cilic was assessed by tournament doctors on the subsequent changeover and Federer would stay the course, breaking once again for a commanding 5-1 lead.
Cilic did well to make the third set competitive, but the seventh seed could not halt Federer's indomitable momentum. The Basel native would take the decisive break in the seventh game and did not look back, streaking to the title after one hour and 41 minutes. He would secure his eighth Wimbledon crown with his 13th ace of the match. It was a 93rd tour-level title and record 17th on grass for Federer.
Most Grand Slam Titles At Same Tournament
Federer extended his dominant FedEx ATP Head2Head lead over Cilic to 7-1, defeating the Croatian for the second straight year at Wimbledon. The Swiss saved three match points in that quarter-final encounter at SW19.
“I never gave up throughout my career. I gave my best today and that’s all I could do," said Cilic. "I have had an amazing journey here and have played the best tennis of my life. I’d like to thank my team, they gave me so much strength. To all my fans in Croatia and here, it was really tough today. I gave it my all and I hope to come back here and go one better next time.”
Cilic, who takes home £1,100,000 and 1200 Emirates ATP Rankings points, was appearing in his second major final (2014 US Open). Champion at the 2012 Aegon Championships at The Queen's Club, he was also bidding for a second grass-court crown and 17th in total at the tour-level. The 28 year old was vying to become just the second Croatian player to win the Wimbledon title, joining Goran Ivanisevic (2001).