Roger Federer has long been the king of comebacks. At the 2017 Australian Open, the Swiss, who goes into this season ranked 17th, pulled off two mammoth back-to-back wins over 10th seed Tomas Berdych and World No. 5 Kei Nishikori, the latter going into an epic five-setter that saw Federer hold on until the very end as the Japanese ace pulled out all the stops to fight his lower-ranked opponent, who just happens to be the GOAT.
Wimbledon 2016, against Marin Cilic
It is no secret that the grass-courts of Wimbledon are Roger Federer’s favourite stomping grounds. Despite his struggles with pain and injury last year, the Swiss made a mammoth run to progress till the semi-finals of the tournament. And he might have won that match too, had it not been for his gruelling quarter-final against Croat ace Marin Cilic.
Roger Federer has been nothing short of the King of Wimbledon, but on this day, Cilic brought his A-game and then some, hitting big, powerful serves and weighty groundstrokes that completely evaded the Swiss. He started off with a strong fight, taking Cilic to tiebreak with a mammoth 17 winners in the first set alone.
But it was in that tiebreak that Federer appeared to come momentarily unravelled. After Cilic raced to a win in the tiebreak, he attempted a few comebacks in the second set only for Cilic’s big shot-making to see him broken and eventually losing the second set too.
The set losses appeared, perhaps, to spur the Swiss on to more attacking, powerful tennis that stretched the match to a further three sets – with Federer winning each one and sealing the match.
He lost the first two sets – as he had already done nine times before, but then, despite Cilic having held match points, soldiered on for a strong five-set win – one of Federer’s best matches in recent years.