Resilience A Microcosm Of Federer’s Journey
Wimbledon, Great Britain
by Josh Meiseles|
In many ways, Roger Federer’s resilience and determination in the 2014 Wimbledon final epitomised his journey over the past year.
Despite succumbing to rival and top seed Novak Djokovic 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4 after three hours and 56 minutes, Federer exhibited the guile and fight of a seven-time champion, refusing to wilt under the weight of the Serb’s sublime serving display. The fourth seed roared back from a 2-5 deficit in the fourth set to force a decider, saving a championship point in the process, in what proved to be a pulsating, drama-laden war of attrition.
“I kept believing and kept trying to play offensive tennis,” said Federer. “I'm happy it paid off in some instances.”
Twelve months ago, Federer was shockingly dismissed in the second round at the hands of Sergiy Stakhovsky, his earliest exit from the All England Club in 11 years. One year later, after a period of self-discovery that featured the recovery from a back ailment and the switch to a larger racquet frame, the Swiss found himself on the precipice of an 18th Grand Slam title.
Federer says he will look to the positives of a successful grass-court campaign, which also included a title on the lawns of the Gerry Weber Open, as he seeks to maintain his strong form in the months and years ahead. For the 32 year old, it’s another step in a long journey.
“I'm very happy to see that with feeling normal I can produce a performance like I did the last two weeks," added Federer. "That clearly makes me believe that this was just a steppingstone to many more great things in the future.
“To be able to play consistent, great, solid tennis with some really nice things to look back on, [I have] good emotions again, even though it was rough at the end clearly. Very happy to see that I can do it week-for-week, match-for-match, point-for-point. It's all right there. It's been a very positive last couple of weeks for me when I won Halle as well. I'm looking very much toward a vacation and working out hard again to get myself in shape for the American summer.”
Federer was bidding to become the first man to win eight titles at SW19 and the oldest champion in the Open Era. The World No. 4 turned in a strong serving exhibition, highlighted by 29 aces, his second-highest total in 82 matches at Wimbledon, but he admits it was Djokovic’s serve that was his Achilles heel.
“I felt like that was my biggest problem really overall,” said Federer on his inability to apply pressure to Djokovic’s serve. “I think that's where I lost the match. I served well myself throughout. I feel like if I would have returned better or would have understood it earlier or if he would have helped me out just a little bit things could have been quite different today.
“I thought the match was a good one. I thought it had everything for fans to like. The swing of momentum in the first set, him coming back in the second, staying even in the third, all the back and forth in the fourth set, and then the drama of the fifth. I thought it was a great match and I enjoyed to be a part of it.”