SW34 is TENNIS.com's Wimbledon blog providing on-site news, insight and commentary about a pair of legendary 34-year-olds, Roger Federer and Serena Williams.

LONDON—Roger Federer’s bid for an eighth Wimbledon title ended on Friday at the hands of Milos Raonic.

The first-time Grand Slam finalist won, 6-3, 6-7 (3), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3.

“This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it,” Federer said. “So close. It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts. At the same time, I totally overachieved here.”

Raonic had played one semifinal at Wimbledon coming into this match, losing to Federer in 2014. He’d been there before, but it still felt as if he was trespassing on the Swiss’ most sacred turf. The task at hand, as daunting as it may have seemed, didn’t faze him at all.


The world No. 7 earned the first break of the match somewhat easily, with Federer double faulting on break point. It was surprising to see Federer give up the break without much fight, especially so early in the match. The double was just his third of the tournament.

From the onset, Raonic’s only weakness seemed to be his backhand slice—a shot that Federer has mastered better than anyone—as the Canadian missed quite a few attempts and hit a few floaters on his many net charges. Raonic beat Federer to the net, coming in 56 times to Federer’s 37, and he used his 6’5” frame to lay siege over the net.

“He's always had great focus,” Federer said. “Serve for serve, point for point, he's always done a tremendous job there. I feel like, since maybe a year-and-a-half now, he feels maybe a bit more comfortable coming to net.”

Federer stepped up his play in the second set, getting triple break point at 5-4. But he failed to capitalize, which would become the trend of the match that ultimately sent him packing.

After taking the second-set tiebreaker, Federer got into a rhythm in the third, getting his only break of the match at 3-3 with a backhand shank from Raonic. For the first time the 25-year-old looked a little rattled, but he recovered quickly.

“It’s an incredible comeback for me,” Raonic said. “I was struggling there through the third and fourth set. He was playing some really good tennis. Just one little opening, and I managed to turn it around and finish off a great match.”


Deep into the fourth set, with momentum in Federer’s favor, he earned two break chances at 2-2, and another at 4-4, but failed to convert.

“Yeah, so opportunities were all around the fourth set,” Federer said. “I think I pushed him on a few service games to get the break. But somehow I couldn't get it done. Either he served well or he hit the line on the serve, or with the forehand. He did a great job there.”

At 5-6 with Federer serving at 40-15, he hit consecutive double faults to help hand over the break.

“Something went wrong,” he said. “I don't know. I can't believe I served a double fault twice. Unexplainable for me, really. Very sad about that, and angry at myself because never should I allow him to get out of that set that easily.”

It only got worse from there for the seven-time Wimbledon champion. In the fifth set, during the first deuce at 1-2, Raonic hit a short, backhand down-the-line slice as Federer came into the net. The Swiss reached it, but slipped as he lunged for Raonic’s passing shot, falling flat onto his chest. He laid there a few long seconds before going to his chair to call the trainer.

“I hope I didn't hurt myself,” he said. “Then, is it a three‑day thing, is it a 24‑hour thing, or is it more? I don't know at this point. I hope it's not so bad. I walked it off.  I was able to finish.

“But I don't slip a lot. I don't ever fall down. It was a different fall for me than I've ever had.”

This would prove to be the beginning of the end for the world No. 3. Ironically, the fall—both literally and figuratively—came about because of a Raonic slice.


“I had missed my chances by then,” Federer said. “…Maybe I could have stuck around better if I would have saved break points.”

The trainer looked at Federer’s left knee—the same one that he had surgery on earlier this yeae—for just a few moments before the 34-year-old marched back on court. Soon after, he hit his fifth double fault, and Raonic sealed the break with a forehand winner.

The match was all Raonic’s from there, as he took the final set 6-3.

“I feel like I lost it and he won it, for sure,” Federer said. “…He played on top of the line when he had to. He fought. He believed, like I did against [Marin] Cilic. These things, sometimes … don't go your way.”

Will the world get a chance to see the champion go for his eighth Wimbledon title next year?

“I was fortunate enough to play all my matches on Centre Court,” Federer said. “I don't take that for granted. And yes, I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you.”