What year is it again? Tennis pundits have been asking themselves that question all year after Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal have reconquered most of their prestigious kingdoms.
On Sunday, the almost 36-year-old Federer was at it again, winning a historic eighth title on the greatest stage of all — Wimbledon — by swatting aside Marin Cilic. Amazingly, it is the first time Federer has lifted the trophy at SW19 without losing a set. It is not unreasonable to say with this achievement, he has transcended the sport and stage.
In his prime, we wondered if he possessed sweat glands. Well, at an age when he should be competing on the senior tour, the Swiss continues to astound one and all with his otherworldly powers.
One has heard about his natural talent, but his qualities behind the scenes make him a hero beyond the mere confines of a tennis court.
He is considered a force for good in the world, evidenced by reactions, social media and otherwise, to his win in Australia, which claimed all was right with the world again. In fact, it was not long ago that he was ranked only behind Nelson Mandela as the most-respected, admired and trusted individual in the world by a global study. It’s not a coincidence that people have rarely, if ever, rooted for a champion as much as they do for Federer.
Another aspect that cannot be overstated is the amount of hard work and risk the genius has taken. Fitness is probably the most underrated part of his game. In 1,358 career matches, he has never retired. He floats while others run, paints a canvas while others play.
Down in the dumps in 2013, he changed his racquet. Injured in 2016, he shut down the season after Wimbledon. He reinvented his divine backhand into an immaculate rapier and upgraded his return game. To be able to do all this and more after having achieved everything takes extraordinary dedication. Fortunately, in Federer, one has arguably the greatest athlete of all time.
Thank you, Roger. For everything.