Sometimes the old folks have still got it and that is what Venus Williams and Roger Federer have proven so far at Wimbledon. For the past 12 days, they have turned back the clock and it feels like we are in 2007 not 2017.
Williams has played spectacularly so far and has only dropped one set which was in the second round. In fact, over the past three rounds, Williams has only dropped 19 games while dominating the competition and has not dropped serve in her last 12 service games.
It’s been a long journey for Williams who has battled Sjogrens Syndrome, which causes fatigue, muscle and joint pain. But slowly over the years, Williams has gotten her game back to the level it was when she was winning grand slams over a decade ago. This has been her most successful year since the diagnosis and now she is one match away from making plenty of history.
At 37, if Williams wins on Saturday, she will become the oldest grand slam winner in history, passing ironically her sister, Serena who beat her in the Australian Open Final this year to grab that honor. Also, with a victory, Williams would set a record for most grand slam tournaments between championships as it has been 39 grand slam tournaments since she last won one which was at Wimbledon 2008.
Williams will face stiff competition in the final from Garbine Muguruza who is a grand slam winner herself winning the 2016 French Open by defeating Serena and lost to her in the 2015 Wimbledon final. Nobody has defeated both Williams sisters in Grand Slam Finals. Muguruza has the opportunity to become the first player to ever do that.
And it can be argued that Muguruza is playing her best tennis and has actually lost less games in the tournament than Williams. Muguruza has lost 37 games throughout the six rounds and dominated in the semifinals.
One way or another history is going to be made in the final. One final interesting stat is that at Wimbledon, the Williams sisters have followed peculiar trends. In 2000-01, Venus went back to back. The next two years? Serena went back to back. In 2005-08, Venus won three out of four and went back to back in the final two. Want to guess what happened the next four years? Yep, that’s right, Serena went back to back, matching Venus and won three out of four.
In 2015-16, Serena won back to back. Ironically, the next year, Venus is in the final and could continue a weird trend with a win. If Williams serves like she has so far in this tournament on her favorite surface, she has a great shot.
On the men’s side, it has been a fantastic tournament for Federer who has made the Wimbledon final for a record 11th time. Federer is also experiencing a resurgent year after taking off six months last year and looks healthier than ever.
Federer is trying to win a record 8th Wimbledon title which would break a tie with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw. There have been two previous attempts for Federer to win his record eighth but both times he was stopped by Novak Djokovic in 2014 and 2015.
But now Federer is trying to accomplish even more history by extending his record total of grand slams to 19. Also, Federer has not dropped a set in the tournament so far and is trying to become the second man in the open era to win Wimbledon without dropping a set which has only been accomplished by Bjorn Borg in 1976.
At 35, Federer is serving brilliantly and can still hit those shots that make your jaw drop and wonder how the heck did he do that? He’s a magician and wizard on grass and continues to amaze at his advanced age. With a win on Sunday, Federer would become the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the open era.
However, he will have a stiff challenge in Marin Cilic, who won the U.S. Open in 2014 when he stunned Roger Federer in straight sets in the semifinals. The two have met at Wimbledon before last year in the quarterfinals when Cilic won the first two sets before dropping the final three including the fourth in a tiebreak.
The big serve of Cilic could give Federer trouble and allow for easy holds. Federer will not faze Cilic who has defeated four players in a row ranked in the top 26 on his way to the final and Federer will be his fifth ranked player in a row.
Much like the final on the women’s side, history is going to be made whomever wins. If Federer wins he extends his record grand slam titles and becomes the winningest player in Wimbledon history, winning the tournament for the first time since 2012. If Cilic wins, he cements his legacy by winning two different grand slams.
It has been a fantastic two weeks for Williams and Federer who are the old grizzled veterans on the tour. What once seemed improbable to think of 12 months ago, when it looked the game passed them by, is on the verge of happening. The question is can they use their experience against much younger opponents and pull one more out?
If they do, they’ll be the oldest champions in Wimbledon history and will truly have turned back time. By the way, the champions on both side in 2007? That’s right, it was Williams and Federer. In two days, we could possibly see the same winners of Wimbledon that we saw 10 years ago. Now wouldn’t that be a trip?