After bagging his his eighth Wimbledon title following his 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 win against Marin Cilic on Sunday, Roger Federer etched his name at the topmost echelon of the All England Club. The lush green Centre Court has seen the Swiss ace rise from a burly, pony-tailed, temperamental youngster to an assured, worldly wise maestro who is always one step ahead of his opponent.
Some of the most interesting finals have also given way to some fun, emotional, and memorable moments in front of the microphone featuring the 19-time Grand Slam winner. Here is a look back at proceedings from 2001, where Federer stunned Pete Sampras. Over the years, that moment is viewed as “change of guard” in tennis greatness. Sandwiched between those eight wins were also a couple of painful losses, especially the 2008 encounter with old rival Rafael Nadal.
2001: “It feels unbelievable, of course. I mean, I went out on the court today trying to beat him. I mean, I knew it was not going to be easy. I’m very happy about my performance today, from the first to the last point. Yeah, at the end, it’s just a great feeling I’ve never had before.
– After ending Pete Sampras’s 31-match winning streak at Wimbledon 7-6(7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7(2), 7-5.
2003: “To win Wimbledon as a first Grand Slam, you know, obviously now I don’t hope it’s gonna be my last, but it is, it’s definitely for me the best one to win. I’m so happy.”
– Federer, after defeating Mark Philippoussis 7-6(5), 6-2, 7-6(3) to win his first Wimbledon title
2004: “Somehow I feel even more joy this year because I had so much pressure going into this tournament. Now to see my name on the board twice in a row, I kind of, you know, get more joy out of this. It’s strange.”
– After he lifted his second Wimbledon title, defeating Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6(3), 6-4
2005: “I really played a fantastic match – one of my best in my life. Again, you know, the biggest, most important moment, you know, in a Grand Slam final, and I would consider this even bigger than the US Open final I played, so this is my best match maybe I’ve ever played. I won’t get bored so quickly, so I’m sorry.”
– Third Wimbledon title, defeating Roddick 6-2, 7-6(2), 6-4.
2006: “I’m very well aware of how important this match was for me. If I lose, obviously it’s a hard blow for me. He wins French, Wimbledon, back to back... It’s important for me to win a finals against him for a change and beat him for a change. At Wimbledon I knew it was gonna be the place for me to do it the easiest way. Turned out to be tough and it shows how much he’s improved over maybe an entire year.”
– Fourth Wimbledon title defeating Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6(5), 6-7(2), 6-3.
2007: “It was a huge occasion for me, huge pressure. Bjorn Borg sitting there, Jimmy Connors sitting there, John McEnroe sitting there, Boris Becker sitting there. It’s a big moment for me. Then in the end, to lift the trophy, it’s a very, special memory. I’ll have it for all my life.”
– Fifth Wimbledon title, defeating Nadal 7-6(7), 4-6, 7-6(3), 2-6, 6-2.
2008: “Probably my hardest loss, by far. I mean, it’s not much harder than this right now, so...”
– After losing to Nadal in the final, which is viewed by many pundits as the “Greatest Match Ever”. The scoreline was 4-6, 4-6, 7-6(5), 7-6(8), 7-9.
2009: “I’m happy I broke the record here in some ways because this is always the tournament that’s meant the most to me with my heroes and idols being so successful here. So it definitely feels like it’s come full circle for me, starting it here and ending it here... I know how much the record meant to Pete and he knows how much the record means to me. In a way, I still feel like we share it, just because he was such a wonderful champion. He still has one up against me here at Wimbledon.”
– Sixth Wimbledon title, the record-breaking 15th Grand Slam title, defeating Roddick 5-7, 7-6(6), 7-6(5), 3-6, 16-14.
2012: “I’m so happy I’m at the age I am right now, because I had such a great run and I know there’s still more possible. To enjoy it right now, it’s very different than when I was 20 or 25. I’m at a much more stable place in my life. I wouldn’t want anything to change – so this is very, very special right now.”
– Seventh Wimbledon title, defeating Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4.
2017: “I didn’t think I was going to be this successful after beating Pete [in 2001]. I hoped to have a chance maybe one day to be in a Wimbledon finals and have a chance to win the tournament. Winning eight is not something you can ever aim for, in my opinion.
If you do, I don’t know, you must have so much talent and parents and the coaches that push you from the age of three on, who think you’re like a project. I was not that kid. I was just really a normal guy growing up in Basel, hoping to make a career on the tennis Tour. I guess I dreamed, I believed, and really hoped that I could actually maybe really do it, you know, to make it real. So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off.”
– After lifting his eighth Wimbledon title defeating Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4.
[With inputs from Wimbledon.com]