Reviewing Federer’s 11 Wimbledon Finals

2003 Roger Federer d. Mark Philippoussis 7-6, 6-2, 7-6

What We Learned: Federer won what may be the last of the 1990s style Wimbledon finals as both players attacked the net frequently while also serving plenty of aces and service winners.

2004 Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick 4-6, 7-5, 7-6, 6-4

What We Learned: Federer showed that he could win without front running.  His first 2 major finals were straight set wins, but in this match Federer lost the first set, nearly lost a 2 break lead in the second set, and came from a break down to win the 3rd set.  We also learned that Federer was a very tough match-up for Andy Roddick who played quite well and still watched Federer claim the big trophy.

2005 Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick 6-2, 7-6, 6-4

What We Learned: Federer didn’t win Roland Garros in 2005, but his first semifinal run in Paris led to him striking his backhand quite well at Wimbledon.  Federer was consistently getting to 30 in Roddick’s service games.  Roddick never really had a chance in this match.

2006 Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal 6-0, 7-6, 6-7, 6-3

What We Learned: Despite being thrashed in the opening set, Rafael Nadal proved to be a worthy opponent off of clay.  Federer raced through the first set as Nadal looked totally lost.  Nadal broke Federer to start the second set, won the 3rd set despite trailing 2 sets to 0, and broke Federer’s serve in the 4th set when Federer served for the match at 5-1. Federer prevailed but the era of Roddick and Hewitt as Federer’s main rivals on faster surfaces was closing.

2007 Roger Federer d. Rafael Nadal 7-6, 4-6, 7-6, 2-6, 6-2

What We Learned: Roger Federer served his way through a lot of missed break point opportunities.  After a poor 4th set and failing to break Nadal after the early stages of the 1st set, Roger Federer won big points to prevent falling behind by a break early in the 5th set and then broke Nadal twice to seal his 5th straight Wimbledon.

2008 Rafael Nadal d. Roger Federer 6-4, 6-4, 6-7, 6-7, 9-7

What We Learned: Rafael Nadal could beat Federer at Wimbledon after his 2007 near miss.  We also learned that Federer could fight and rally after a lackluster first set and giving up a break lead in the 2nd set.  The 4th set tiebreak and entire 5th set were about as tense as any tennis match has ever been yet both men played tremendous tennis under that pressure.

2009 Roger Federer d. Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14

What We Learned: Roger Federer could be ruthless.  If anyone has deserved a Wimbledon title without winning one, Andy Roddick has to be near the top of the list. With Bjorn Borg, Rod Laver, and Pete Sampras sitting court side expecting to see Federer win a then record 15th major title, it felt a bit like Andy Roddick was a sacrificial lamb. Roddick was a sacrificial lamb who served tons of aces and service winners, who fended off trouble spots in service games and refused to be broken until the final game of the match.  Federer served a ridiculous number of aces in his own right and was broken only twice across five long sets.

2012 Roger Federer d. Andy Murray 4-6, 7-5, 6-3, 6-4

What We Learned: Federer could extend the ghost of Fred Perry.  Andy Murray was poised to become the first male player from the UK to win the singles title at Wimbledon since Fred Perry.  Murray won the first set.  Federer stiffened his spine, hit some magnificent volleys, and blunted Murray’s title hopes.  Federer also benefitted from the crowd not being completely raucous in its support for Murray.  In the olympic gold medal match at the same venue, the crowd was quite different, and Murray won gold following a 3 set win.  The crowd was also much more partisan in Murray’s favor at the 2013 Wimbledon final when Roger Federer was not his opponent.

2014 Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer 6-7, 6-4, 7-6, 5-7, 6-4

What We Learned: Novak Djokovic was able to fight through not closing out the match in the 4th set.  Djokovic endured a number of tough major losses after his 2013 Australian Open triumph.  His losses to Nadal in the 2013 US Open and 2014 French Open finals as well as a loss to Andy Murray in the 2013 Wimbledon final had Djokovic in a tough spot.  He was the most consistent week-in and week-out performer on the tour, but he was not reigning at any of the majors.  Djokovic claimed a 2 break lead in the 4th set only to be broken 3 consecutive times and lose the 4th set.  This led to a big gut check moment in which Djokovic took the 5th set.  Djokovic would go on to win 5 of the next 6 majors finals he contested.

2015 Novak Djokovic d. Roger Federer 7-6, 6-7, 6-4, 6-3

What We Learned:  Novak Djokovic established dominance on the men’s tour.  This Wimbledon title was the first major in the 4 slam streak.  The Nole Slam is still underated.  Djokovic was untouchable in the final 2 sets and applied pressure to Federer throughout the match.

2017 Roger Federer d. Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4

What We Learned: Even in his mid-thirties Roger Federer is a top-tier player on grass (at least) and can put himself in the position to contend at Wimbledon in the future.  Along with his 8th Wimbledon title, Federer won his 9th Halle title in 2017.  These 17 titles on grass plus a silver medal in singles on grass all speak to his ability to play great tennis on the breathing surface.  If one adds experience and favorable crowds to the mix of his good tennis, he can win big prizes and add to his legacy.  Federer won the 2017 Wimbledon Championships without dropping a single set.  That is not normal as he never did that in his other 7 title runs.


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