Roger Federer stands alone atop the Wimbledon mountain.
Federer won his 19th Slam title in decisive fashion on Sunday, routing Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 for his eighth Wimbledon crown, breaking a tie with Pete Sampras for the all-time lead.
Cilic was dealing with a bad blister on his foot, and seemed to really feel the effects from the end of the first set onwards, twice calling for a trainer - including a changeover in which he broke down in tears after going down 3-0 in the second. His movement was flat-footed, he sailed forehands, and he struggled to land serves. Looking for a lifeline, he resorted to serve-and-volleying, but the volleying part of that formula didn't quite hold up.
"It was tough for me to focus on the match as my mind was blocked with the pain," Cilic told reporters in his post-match presser, according to Carole Bouchard of The Yellow Ball Corner.
It was particularly disappointing because Cilic had started off the match looking very strong; hitting without fear, driving the ball deep to the corners, and keeping Federer on the defensive. He earned the first break point of the match, a chance to apply some early scoreboard pressure and make Federer play from behind. But he duffed a second-serve return, netted a backhand, and committed a forehand error to let Federer off the hook. Cilic wouldn't see another break chance all match. His own serve got broken the following game, and the rest was academic.
"It was really tough today," Cilic said in his on-court interview after the match. "But I gave it my all."
"It's cruel sometimes, but he fought well and he's a hero," Federer said of his opponent.
Federer had looked just a bit tight in the early going, but after saving that break point, he was free and loose and practically perfect, even though he didn't need to be. He landed more than three quarters of his first serves, wrecked Cilic's timing by taking every ball on the rise, hit diabolical drop shots, passed him at the net, and ultimately closed him out in just 100 minutes. After clinching the historic title, Federer shed some tears of his own.
He didn't drop a set on his way to lifting the trophy, the first time he's ever done that at the All England Club and the first time any male player has done so since Bjorn Borg in 1976. At 35 years and 342 days, 14 years after winning it for the first time, he's the oldest man in the Open era to win Wimbledon. He's now won 30 consecutive sets, dating back to his championship run in Halle last month. As he hurtles toward his late thirties, the Swiss legend has never looked better.