Ruthless Roger Federer thrashed suffering Croatian Marin Cilic 6-3 6-1 6-4 on Sunday to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon singles crowns, five years after landing his seventh.
The Swiss maestro, appearing in his 11th Wimbledon final, was challenged early on but once he broke a nervous Cilic in the fifth game of the opening set the match became a no-contest.
Not that Federer was concerned as, 23 days before his 36th birthday, the father of four became the oldest men’s singles champion at Wimbledon in the professional era — taking the title back without dropping a set throughout the fortnight.
It continued a remarkable resurgence by Federer, who returned from six months off at the start of the year to win the Australian Open — ending a five-year wait for an 18th grand slam many thought would remain elusive. Now he has 19 and looks capable of adding more.
"I’ve got to take more time off," Federer joked as his twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, who were there when he beat Andy Murray in the 2012 final, and twin boys Leo and Lennart, who were not, watched their father kiss the trophy he first won in 2003.
"Not to drop a set, it’s magical, I can’ t believe it just yet. I wasn’t sure I would ever be here in another final," he said.
Seventh-seed Cilic’s first final on Centre Court became a nightmare. His legs looked heavy, his mind seemed a fuzz and at times he looked on the point of throwing in the towel.
"It’s cruel sometimes and he’s a hero, so congratulations on a wonderful tournament," Federer said generously.
After a reasonably solid start, in which he had the final’s first break point, Cilic cracked after dropping serve at 2-2 when his backhand went missing in action after a tumble earlier in the game. Federer scented blood and quickly polished off the first set before breaking Cilic to lead 3-0 in the second.
Cilic slumped to his chair in tears as the physio and tournament referee attended him and it looked as though the final might end in a retirement for the first time since 1911. Given sympathetic cheers by the 15,000 crowd, the 28-year-old managed to regain his composure but there was no chance of Federer letting up as he accelerated towards the title.