LONDON – Roger Federer's wait for No. 8 at Wimbledon is over.
He is once again the champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, now more often than any other man in the history of an event first played in 1877.
Federer won his eighth title at the All England Club and 19th major trophy overall, capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in a lopsided final that was more coronation than contest.
When it ended on an ace from Federer after merely 1 hour, 41 minutes, he raised both arms overhead. Soon, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.
“I always believed that I could maybe come back and do it again. And if you believe, you can go really, really far in your life, and I did that,” Federer said. “And I'm happy I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today for the eighth. It's fantastic.”
His first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003, and was followed by others in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won again in 2009 and 2012. But then he lost finals in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic.
The gold trophy that he was denied on those occasions was in Federer's hands Sunday. He turns 36 on Aug. 8, making the father of four the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era. Both of his sets of twins – boys, 3, in their light blue blazers; girls, 7, in their dresses – were in the guest box for the trophy ceremony.
One son stuck a couple of fingers in his mouth; a daughter grabbed her brother's hand.
“They have no clue what's on. They think it's probably a nice view and a nice playground. But it's not quite like that here, so one day hopefully they'll understand,” Federer said about his boys.
As for the girls, he said: “They enjoy to watch a little bit. They come for the finals, I guess.”
When Dad is Roger Federer, you can wait until the last Sunday to show up.
Truly, this outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead.
Cilic said afterward he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday, and that affected his ability to move properly or summon the intimidating serves that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.
This one was all Federer, whose seventh championship five years ago pulled him even with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what's still officially called Gentlemen's Singles. Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, when the previous year's champion advanced automatically to the final.
With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air Sunday, Federer's early play was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the “GOAT” – Greatest of All Time – admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts to this day.
And so it was that Federer, not Cilic, hit a double-fault in each of his first two service games. And it was Federer, not Cilic, who faced the match's initial break point, in the match's fourth game. But Cilic netted a return there, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve. He was never confronted with another break point.
“I gave it my best,” Cilic said. “That's all I could do.”