Who can stop Federer at Wimbledon? Well, damn good question. You throw the kitchen sink at him, he has a bath tub to reply with. If you use base line power, he comes to the net and takes time away from you. Play your best and he can better that best. Ask Berdych and Raonic they have first-hand experience. The answer is very simple to the question above. If you can use the following shots in one single match you can easily beat him, because anything less than this won’t do any good for any opponent.
Pin point serving accuracy, the quality second serves with kick, Strong Cross court and down the line forehand with added topspin, Variable speed crosscourt and down the line back hand, Slice, drop shots, Serve and volley are the tools needed to win against him. But how many players have all these shots put together in their racquets? Only Federer has all these skills and the problem is he can’t verse himself.
Along with the skills, he is got the ability to change the game according to the situation or the opponent. Having that cool head above the shoulder is an added advantage when he is on the verge of going down a break on his serve. It helps him get out of trouble on almost every occasion. This Wimbledon he is probably playing at only 90% of his total ability. He can still go up one gear but looks like he didn’t need to use that yet.
A problem facing him at Wimbledon is that it his most comfortable surface where he has 100 matches already. Playing in his 11th final on that surface tonight. With so many tools in his armoury, it makes so overwhelming for the players and that’s the proof that he hasn’t lost a set here last whole fortnight. Some players have broken him on rare occasions. That’s about it. Almost the age of 36 today, still playing so graciously you wonder, is Federer ever going to get (re)tired!
The reason for his longevity is the playing style. He never looks grinding himself on the court, unlike his contemporaries. Utilises his energy only in the right moments. His aggressive style of play with consistently approaching to the nets helps him keep the points relatively short. The other major reason is his smart scheduling throughout his career. Skipping the whole clay season to prolong his career is the latest example. Being surrounded by the right and like minded people has also helped him over the years. The most importantly his love for the game hasn’t dropped a bit. He still loves travelling on tour, practices, changing the hotels, interviews and all.
Final with Marin Cilic
Facing tonight him is 6.6ft tall Marin Cilic who is playing some sublime tennis of his career who has made at least quarter finals last 4 years in a row at Wimbledon. This also goes to show that he is a good grass court player. He has an opportunity to prove that 2014 US open title wasn’t a fluke. How much chance does he have against Giant Fish Federer? I think he will need to stretch Federer to 5 sets to have any chance to win the title. You can’t beat Federer at Wimbledon in 3 sets, nobody has done it since 2002.
Let’s look at some stats here… Cilic has spent over 11 hrs. on the court this fortnight compared to Federer’s 9 hrs. He has lost 3 sets and Federer hasn’t lost any. The opponents Federer has faced have been tricky like, Zverev, Dimitrov, Raonic and Berdych. Especially the last two being big servers like Cilic means he has been tested thoroughly in the past 2 weeks. Cilic on the other hand also went through some tricky opponents like Kohlschreiber, Mayer, Johnson, Bautista Agut, Muller and Querry. But he hasn’t been tested with any of big guns like Rafa, Murray or Djokovic. Facing Federer without having to go through at least one of these means he has to raise his level significantly to match the Giant fish.
Can Cilic beat Federer?
Even though he has played one Grand slam final in his career before, Federer has been there 29 times. If at all there are any nerves in both players I am sure Cilic will feel more. The nerves might just give Cilic a set may be. Federer is riding high on his confidence, not just this tournament but throughout 2017. The added power to his backhand during his long break last year has helped him beat many players on tour along with 3 back to back win over Rafa. His first serve percentage(84%) in the tournament and very minimal unforced errors are the key to his success and will be tonight as well.
I pick Federer in 4 sets!