Who is the greatest male tennis player on grass, is a question that can’t be answered by just one name given the history of the surface. But when it comes to Wimbledon, the race is a close one between Roger Federer and Pete Sampras.

Federer had equalled Sampras’ (and Williams Renshaw’s amateur era) record of seven Wimbledon titles back in 2012, winning his 17th Grand Slam final after beating Andy Murray in the final.

It seemed like an eighth title at the All England Club, to break the long-held record of his idol, was not too far away. The Swiss reached the final in 2014 and 2015, but lost both times to Novak Djokovic. He lost a tough semi-final to Milos Raonic in 2016 and didn’t play another match in the season.

Grass greats: Federer’s records to Borg, Sampras’ Wimbledon runs, top ATP players on the green lawns

But just when many thought that the elusive eighth Wimbledon title was out of reach, Federer reinvented his game and started a stunning season in 2017.

After beating Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final for his 18th Grand Slam title and winning the Sunshine Double (back-to-back Masters titles at Indian Wells and Miami), he skipped the clay season to be fully ready for the grass courts.

The intent was clear – a shot at the Wimbledon record that had slipped him for five years. Seeded third and coming off a grass-court title at Halle, Federer seemed to determined to finally break the jinx.

And the Swiss star did so in style, becoming the first player since Bjorn Borg in 1976 to win the title without dropping a set.

In the final, Federer beat Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 for his record-extending 19th Major.

Incidentally, Federer overcame 2016 conqueror Raonic and 2010 finalist Tomas Berdych who had knocked him out as defending champion. He also beat Grigor Dimitrov and Mischa Zverev, on his way to lifting the title.

Roger Federer’s Wimbledon triumph shows he didn’t conquer time, he evolved with it

Admittedly, it seemed like the stars had aligned for the Swiss maestro as the other members of the Big Four – Nadal, Djokovic and Murray – had all failed to reach the semi-finals. Even runner-up Cilic suffered a foot injury midway through the final.

However, it cannot be denied that Federer was in sublime form that year, winning two Grand Slams, three Masters and a total of seven titles.

The historic eighth one at Wimbledon, though, might be the top on the list, for both the player and his fans, given how it elevated him above Sampras in one aspect.