End of the Federer-era?
Seven-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer looked devastated after his heart-wrenching loss to big-serving Raonic in the semi-finals, with the tennis legend ruing missed opportunities. The shock exit of World number one Novak Djokovic in the third round meant that the door was ajar for the Swiss master. This was probably his best shot at winning his eighth title.
"This one clearly hurts because I felt I could have had it," said Federer, who lost a Big-W semi-final for the first time (10-1 record). "It was really so, so close. It clearly hurts."
Trailing two sets to one, Raonic staved off break points in the fifth and ninth games of the fourth set before Federer appeared set to take the set to a tie-break when he served at 5-6, 40/0. But two inexplicable two double faults from Federer allowed Raonic back into the 12th game. Thus followed a horror for half an hour for Federer, who went on to drop the set and lose serve in the fourth game of the fifth set after an untimely slip. While disappointment was palpable for Federer, the 34-year-old Swiss maestro was able to quickly put his run to the semi-finals into perspective, considering his lack of match played this season due to injuries. In just his seventh tournament of the season, Federer had saved match points to edge Croat Marin Cilic in a pulsating quarter-finals to put himself on the cusp of a 28th Grand Slam final.
Coming into SW-16 Federer had been forced to miss the French Open before suffering semi-final defeats in Stuttgart and Halle to rising ATP stars Dominic Thiem and Alexander Zverev respectively. Classy as ever, Federer waited for Raonic to pack his bags at the end of the match before walking off Centre Court alongside the Canadian, stopping to wave to the crowd that had given the Swiss their full support. And Federer was quick to clarify that it was a wave of thanks and not goodbye to the court on which he has won seven of his Grand Slam titles.
"I was looking at Centre Court as in thank you for the crowd, thank you for the great feeling that you gave me throughout The Championships. I was fortunate enough to play all my matches on Centre Court. I don't take that for granted. For me, it's respect towards Milos to wait for him. You walk off together, thank the crowd at the same time, then leave the stage for Milos really at the end.
"That's what I was going through, not thinking that this might be my last Wimbledon I hope to be back on Centre Court, to be very clear for you."
Had this year’s experience not made him think that he would like to spend more quality time at home on a more permanent basis?
After all, Federer and his wife Mirka have two sets of twins – six-year-olds Myla and Charlene, and two-year-olds Leo and Lenny – to bring up. It would be premature to write off Federer, but with the Swiss genius turning 35 in August, time is running out for him. With Serbian Novak Djokovic utterly dominant on all surfaces, and Andy Murray striking a rich vein of form in the last few months things don't appear too bright for Roger.