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Will Roger Federer become the oldest man in the Open era to win Wimbledon?

He holds the record for most Grand Slam singles triumphs with 18 titles, has also been in 28 finals

Kumar Akash  |  New Delhi 

Switzerland's Roger Federer returns to Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych during their Men's Singles semifinal match on day eleven at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.
Switzerland's Roger Federer returns to Czech Republic's Tomas Berdych during their Men's Singles semifinal match on day eleven at the Wimbledon Tennis Championships in London.

Fourteen years ago, a young Swiss in his early twenties, who began playing tennis at the age of eight, made headlines at by winning his first ever Now in his mid-thirties, this man has emerged to become one of the grand old masters of Centre Court, where he shares space with former great Pete Sampras of the US, with seven titles. 

So, will edge past the American and establish himself as the 'King of Centre Court' on Sunday, when he meets 7th seed Croatia's in the title clash? If he does he will achieve another milestone as well — Federer will become the oldest man in the open era to carry the trophy home. 
  
But the road to hasn't been easy this time, and there were doubts whether Federer would make it to the final, following his semi-final loss last season and six-month break last year due to a knee injury. However, his triumph over of the Czech Republic in the semi-finals has put those fears to rest and the Swiss sensation only needs to focus on his game with a much younger Cilic, who took the US Open in 2014 and has entered his second final at 2017.

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A seven-time champion, Federer will play in his 11th final at the finals after overcoming some big hitting from Berdych 7-6(4), 7-6(4), 6-4 during their semi-final on Friday. The evergreen 35-year-old will be the favourite when he plays for his record eighth title and 19th crown on Sunday.

Federer has now reached 29 finals and has, for the third time in his career, reached the final without dropping a set, a feat he achieved earlier in 2006 and 2008.

Old is Gold

Federer, who turns 36 on August 8, is showing few signs of slowing. The noticeable difference is his having shed the ponytail he sported when he first took in 2003. He is apparently more comfortable with a shorter crop.

As of now, while other tennis stars such as Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have all exited 2017, the oldest of the Big Four is just one win away from an eighth  

And the odds haven't been stacked in his favour for no reason: He has not dropped a set, he hit the 10,000th ace of his career and is already the oldest to reach the last round at since Ken Rosewall in 1974.

FedEx's strategy

In January this year, after winning the Australian Open, Federer's decision to skip the entire French Open season did him a world of good before coming to

Murray and Djokovic tested their joints on the hostile clay-court surface of the French Open, and are out from the All England Club. The resilient Swiss master, on the other hand, is fighting fit and seems to be on course to carry home the eighth.

What FedEx has to say

Federer, who received a standing ovation at the end of his match with Berdych, said, "I feel very privileged to be in another final."

"I've got the pleasure to play on another time. I can't believe it's almost true again. I'm happy to have a day off to reflect on what I've done at the tournament," he added.

The numbers game

If Croatian wins his first crown, he will jump to No. 5 in the ATP rankings on Monday, when the new list comes. But if the Super Sunday belongs to the evergreen Federer, then he'll rise to No. 3, from No. 5 currently.

Federer has also spent a record of 302 weeks at No. 1; first reached No. 1 in 2004 after winning the Australian Open by beating Russian tennis star Marat Safin in the finals.

Twitter: @akash_raavan

First Published: Sun, July 16 2017. 15:05 IST
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