On Sunday July 16th, the iconic centre court at Wimbledon may witness not just one of the most memorable feats in the Championships illustrious history but, arguably, one of the most momentous moments of sporting history in our lifetimes.
There is a very fair chance that at 13:45 on July 16th Roger Federer will walk out onto centre court in front of 15,000, oh so lucky, tennis fans and find himself within touching distance of becoming one of history’s truly iconic sporting legends.
Many may argue that Roger resides with the Gods already. Fair comment indeed, he has won a record 18 grand slams from a record 28 finals. He has been world number one for a total of six years. He has played the game with more style, dignity and grace than any other human for the last two decades. Who can forget the iconic men’s final of 2012 against Rafael Nadal, surely the greatest game of the 21st century. Roger’s list of achievements are endless, he is unparalleled in men’s tennis history.
Iconic sporting legend and their moments? Well, that’s difficult to select, but let’s give it a go. We are talking about a club with members such as Mohammed Ali, winning the world heavyweight title for the third time by beating Leon Spinks in 1978. We are talking about Pele, football’s greatest ever player and ambassador, playing for Brazil in the 1970 World Cup final against Italy and taking the game to a different place. We are talking about Usain Bolt winning the treble treble in the relay in Rio and posing like a lightening bolt. This is a club of athletes that redefine and transcend their sports.
Arguably Roger sits with such legends already. There are some minor detours from perfection on his record, but most are irrelevant detail. One little fact does pop out however, Roger has won the Gentlemen’s singles title 7 times, a record… that he shares with Pete Sampras.
The oldest man to win the singles title in the open era was Arthur Ashe in 1971, he was 31. Roger will be 36 this coming August.
So, just perhaps, at 13:45 on July 16th 2017 you may be sitting on centre court at Wimbledon. If it happens, when Roger walks out, and regardless of who he is playing he will walk out first, the crowd will stand and you will feel an experience like no other, because you will be in the presence of a Deity. Three, or four, hours later you may see a Deity fall to his knees because he has won his 8th Gentlemen’s Singles Title at the All England Club and he will know, there is no more to gather. In that crowd, that not so dry eyed crowd, you will hug a stranger, you will be breathless, you will have no idea of the time and you will be a absorbed by a feeling that you simply do not recognise. Roger will surely retire from competitive tennis to take his seat, one of THE seats. And you, well, the price of that ticket did sting a little, but trust me, you will not feel short changed.