ROGER FEDERER last night said he would savour his historic success for the next 12 months after becoming the first man to win the Wimbledon singles title eight times.
This was the 19th grand-slam triumph of his remarkable career, stretching his lead over Rafael Nadal to four and moving him clear of Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in the Wimbledon rankings.
It took the Swiss superstar, 36 next month, just an hour and 41 minutes to blast injured seventh seed Marin Cilic off Centre Court with a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 victory.
And Federer, who won the Australian Open in January following six months off after struggling with a knee injury last year at the All England Club, admitted: ‘This is very special.
‘Wimbledon was, and always will be, my favourite tournament.
‘My heroes walked the grounds and the courts here. To mark history here at Wimbledon really means a lot to me. It’s that simple.
‘To be the Wimbledon champion for a whole year is something I can’t wait to savour and just enjoy.
‘Number eight obviously means a lot to me because to be part of Wimbledon history, that is truly amazing.’
Federer broke twice to win the first set and victory was inevitable when Cilic broke down in tears as he received treatment for blisters on his left foot at 3-0 down in the second.
The Croatian gamely tried to rally, refusing to surrender and winning the hearts of the crowd.
But Federer duly became the first man since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win the singles title without dropping a set. He added: ‘It is cruel sometimes but Marin fought well and is a hero, so congratulations on a wonderful tournament.’
Cilic said: ‘For the last 30 hours since my semi-final win [against Sam Querrey] the physios were almost constantly with me.
‘They did as much as they could but unfortunately I could still feel the pain. It was very tough emotionally.
‘It wasn’t the hurt which was putting me in tears, it was just the feeling [that] I wasn’t able to give my best.’
But Cilic was happy to concede this was all about Federer — a player whose like may never grace Centre Court again.
They said it…
‘EVERYBODY is younger than him and he finds the way to win easily. It’s impossible to fathom’ — Boris Becker on Roger Federer.
■ 8 — Years since Federer, who also took the Australian Open in January, has won more than one grand slam in a season.
■ 2 — Federer is one of only two men to have won two or more singles majors at the age of 35 or beyond, joining Ken Rosewall who won three after that age.
■ 3 — New world ranking for Federer, rising from No.5.
■ 4 — More grand slams won by Federer, with 19, than the next best on the all-time men’s major winners’ list, Rafa Nadal.
■ 0— Sets dropped by Federer in his seven matches at Wimbledon, the first man to manage that since Bjorn Borg in 1976