Fourteen years ago, a young Swiss in his early twenties, who began playing tennis at the age of eight, made headlines at Wimbledon
by winning his first ever Grand Slam.
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 Wimbledon
So, will Roger Federer
edge past the American and establish himself as the 'King of Centre Court' on Sunday, when he meets 7th seed Croatia's Marin Cilic
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 Centre Court
hasn't been easy this time, and there were doubts whether Federer would make it to the final, following his Wimbledon
semi-final loss last season and six-month break last year due to a knee injury. However, his triumph over Tomas Berdych
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 grand slam
final at Wimbledon
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 Swiss megastar
will be the favourite when he plays for his record eighth Wimbledon
title and 19th Grand Slam
crown on Sunday.
Federer has now reached 29 grand slam
finals and has, for the third time in his career, reached the Wimbledon
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 Wimbledon
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 Wimbledon
2017, the oldest of the Big Four is just one win away from an eighth All England Club title.
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 Wimbledon
since Ken Rosewall in 1974.
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 Wimbledon.
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 Centre Court
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 Marin Cilic
wins his first Wimbledon
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.