Roger: older and not quite out


A brief note before this brief post: I do have a new tennis writing position at an American-themed place called Fan Rag Sports. I have a really swell colleague, Trenton Jocz.

Here’s our homepage with Wimbledon coverage and other archives.

At FanRag, we decided in advance that I would cover the women’s quarterfinals and men’s semifinals. No duty on Wednesday, though, which is why I:

  1. Invite you to read Fan Rag’s coverage of the men’s quarterfinals, from other writers.
  2. Have to say something about that Roger Federer fellow here, in the wake of his stunning, stirring, old-man comeback over Marin Cilic on Centre Court.

I don’t want to steal my Fan Rag colleagues’ thunder, so this will be extremely short, but I have to offer at least one note.

*

No, I’m not here to mention various statistical milestones or any numbers which add to Federer’s growing collection of Wimbledon and major-tournament records. You’ve likely seen some of them, and will probably find them if you haven’t.

All I’ll mention in the wake of Federer-Cilic is simply this: Even into his mid-30s, Federer finds a way to settle scores. More specifically, he retains the ability to respond to some of his most crushing defeats with the sweetest triumphs.

Federer lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2010 U.S. Open semifinals after holding match points.

He beat Djokovic in the 2011 French Open semifinals.

He lost to Djokovic AGAIN in the U.S. Open semis after holding match points in 2011.

He beat Djokovic in the 2012 Wimbledon semifinals.

Few losses stung Federer worse, and yet he found ways to forge historically resonant triumphs over his conqueror months later.

Enter Cilic.

No one has to spend any time revisiting the 2014 U.S. Open semifinals. It was talked about to no end before and during Wednesday’s match. Federer, against the run of play and — frankly — the odds, has avenged that match.

He also said this:

Soul-crushing defeats can’t be wished away or shoved into a denialist position by Roger Federer or any of his fans.

The only thing he could do? Win the next time a moment really mattered.

That capacity remains intact, one month short of a 35th birthday, with a body whose fitness remains less than 100 percent.

It’s hard for a 17-time major champion to continue to amaze the sporting world. Roger Federer continues to do just that… somehow.

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