He won his first Wimbledon singles title in 2003, sporting a scraggly beard and a ponytail. Fourteen years later, Federer, now the father of four young children, was clean-cut and cleanshaven as he defeated Cilic to win his eighth.
“I don’t remember what I did back in 2003, to be honest,” he said of his pre-final routine. “The team was much smaller. I didn’t have kids running around, potentially waking me up at night. Today we’ve got to, like, close down the doors, say, ‘Daddy is sleeping.’”
But neither time nor late-night interruptions have yet blunted Federer’s power or dulled his skills. Refreshed and improved, he has won five of the seven tournaments he has played this year, including both Grand Slam events in which he has taken part.
After surprising himself by winning the Australian Open in January, he skipped the clay-court swing and the French Open to better prepare himself for grass and the venerable major tournament that suits his game and improvisational ability best.
But to call this year’s Wimbledon a grass-court event is only partly true. Rarely in its modern history has the area around the Centre Court baseline been more barren and scuffed up for a men’s final.
The court conditions led to several bad bounces in the women’s final on Saturday, won by Garbiñe Muguruza, 7-5, 6-0, over Venus Williams, who at 37 was trying to become the oldest women’s singles champion at Wimbledon in the modern era.
Federer fared better in his quest. It has been that kind of season, one for him and his peripatetic family to savor.
“If you look at the other guys who are 35, 36, I think you can very clearly see that the age and the years on tour are affecting them, but not with him,” said Tomas Berdych, who lost to Federer in the semifinals. “You have to be a unique one for that.”
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