The drama from this year's gentlemen's singles final at Wimbledon wasn't the match itself—that a 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 Roger Federer win over Marin Cilic, in an hour and 41 minutes—but everything that surrounded those lopsided numbers.
It starts with Cilic, who, after an assertive start, completely lost his way. Gone were the big backhands and automatic aces that brought him to the title match at the All England Club; by the end of the first set, the Croat was a shell of himself. At one point in the first set, Cilic slipped on the Centre Court lawn, which could have impacted his performance. But it also may have been mental. Viewers around the world were left to wonder as they watched the 2014 U.S. Open champion sob during a changeover in the second set.
After the match, the BBC's Sue Barker spoke with Cilic before a sympathetic crowd:
Then there was what Federer had accomplished. To his credit, the 35-year-old didn't relent despite his opponent's obvious discomfort. He never fell behind by a break of serve in this match—or throughout the entire tournament—and he became the first player since Bjorn Borg, in 1976, to win Wimbledon without losing a set.
In doing so, Federer claimed his 19th career Grand Slam singles title, his second of this remarkable renaissance season. He also won his eighth Wimbledon title, breaking a tie he had held since 2012 with William Renshaw and Pete Sampras. Federer's lead over Rafael Nadal, his career rival, is now four major titles.
Barker spoke with Federer after Cilic:
There were many tears shed in this match, including from Federer, an all-time great athlete and an emotional man. Federer's victory celebrations which have run the gamut of expressions since he won his first Grand Slam final on this same court, 14 years ago. Today's was somewhat subdued, given the circumstances, but not without well-deserved joy and satisfaction:
After ending the final with an ace, Federer came to the net, congratulated Cilic, and then sat down to take it all in. There, he saw his four children, who sat alongside his wife, parents and coaching team in his players' box:
SW19? At this point, it should be renamed RF19. At least until next year.