Wimbledon 2014 final was supposed to be Roger Federer`s date with history. He was set to become the first man to win eight Wimbledon titles, surpassing Pete Sampras` seven wins. The fans waited with bated breath to see him deliver but a certain Serbian Djoker under the tutelage of his new coach - the legendary Boris Becker - had other plans.
Novak Djokovic battled past the Swiss maestro in an epic five-setter and defeated him 6-7(7), 6-4, 7-6(4), 5-7, 6-4. The fans could wish only one thing - only if the last point was not so abrupt. Only if the Federer backhand had not landed in the nets, only if!
Those who witnessed the battle would know it`s worth. The gruelling session lasted three hours and fifty-six minutes and saw breathtaking moments during its course.
After Federer took the first set, it all seemed well. It looked like he was a step closer to the title. But the next 90 minutes saw a change in the course. Djokovic, obviously hungry for slams after his sixth final appearance, had made up his mind to get rid of his recent losing habits. In the fourth set, with Federer trailing 4-5, the Serb got his Championship point. And lo! It all seemed over for Federer, but the 17-time major winner was in no mood to end it so soon. In an extraordinary display of genuis, Roger not only saved the point but went on to win the set.
Much to the crowd`s delight including the who`s who of London and Britain`s royalty, the final was taken to a fifth set. But, as they say, it was just not meant to be for Federer. Giving stiff competition, the Swiss handed the victory to Novak, who was scripting his own battle. A modest Djokovic thanked the Swiss legend for "letting him win".
The duel was engrossing, exciting and epic. That Roger Federer did not win, does not take any credit away from Djokovic. With the kind of tennis they played, by the time the winner was declared, the fans thoroughly enjoyed the fighting spirit of both the players, with love for the game surpassing everything else.
But this time was probably Federer`s best chance to win another Wimbledon. The number 18 couldn`t have come at a time better than this. It doesn`t happen often that Rafael Nadal, Andy Murray are ousted in early rounds of a tournament. With the emergence of Stanislas Wawrinka, David Ferrer, and the rising bunch of youngsters, Federer would be a worried man.
With talks of his retirement doing the rounds, this was probably his best chance to shut his critics up. Though reaching the finals was no mean feat, but for a player of Roger`s calibre, only a win is considered a success. Though Wimbledon saw a fitter Federer, physically and mentally strong, his chance of entering yet another final of a major, remains under doubt.
This was perhaps a `now-or-never` chance for the king. But as the saying goes - winners never quit. Federer parted off on a positive note that would definitely cheer all his fans - "See you next year," he said.