5,320 days (14 years, six months and 22 days) after winning his first Wimbledon in 2003 (7-6, 6-2 and 7-6 against Mark Philippoussis), Roger Federer has won yet another Grand Slam, in Australia. It's the 20th of his career, at 36, an age when the majority of the players are plying their trade in the veteran categories, to cope with their nostalgia for competition.
Federer beat Cilic in five sets
Federer overcame the heat and the five sets (6-2, 6-7, 6-3, 3-6 and 6-1) he was obliged to play thanks to his friend Marin Cilic, who is seven years younger than him and hits the ball notably harder. The genius from Basel once again showed that tennis is a sport for the sharp-witted, one where precision, mobility and mental strength make the difference. Constant changes of pace, the use of spin and the height of his shots were, once again, more effective than physical prowess.
Federer dominated his generation with an iron fist
This latest victory aggrandizes his place in the history books, if that's possible: 332 wins and 52 defeats in Grand Slams (86.4% win rate), where he's won 66.6% of the finals he's played (20 titles from 30 finals). Once he'd battled the demon of frustration at his delay in joining the elite, Federer dominated his generation with an iron fist. Andy Roddick, Lleyton Hewitt, Juan Carlos Ferrero, Marat Safin (all of whom made it to number 1), David Nalbandián, David Ferrer, and a long list of others suffered him in the flesh.
Only Nadal and Djokovic could keep pace
But the Swiss maestro extended his reign far beyond, taking on, with notable success all of the following: Nadal, Djokovic, Murray, Del Potro, Wawrinka, Cilic, Berdych, Tsonga, Dimitrov, Raonic, Nishikori, Zverev, Thiem, Goffin, Kyrgios, Pouille, Chung... All while avoiding injuries in most demanding era of the game, thanks to his infinite ability at playing the sport. Only the two giants of Nadal and Djokovic were able to keep pace with him, and, occasionally, hand him serious set-backs.
Federer is already a legend and is still in top form. What is his limit? He's won it all and travels the world with his wife, his team and his four children. His passion for tennis and competition remains intact. Just like his motivation. He'll go on for as long as his legs can stand it; he'll keep playing while he's still competitive. With luck, we'll still be enjoying him for some time to come. Don't miss it.
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