For the first time in eight grand slam finals over the same amount of years, Roger Federer will not play someone called Andy, Novak or Rafa when he bids for a record eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday.
Such has been the dominance of tennis’s so-called big-four along with Swiss Stan Wawrinka that Federer will have to wind the clock back to the 2009 U.S. Open when he lost to Juan Martin del Potro to remember what it is like to play a major final against someone outside of the sport’s established powerbase.
With Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal all having fallen by the wayside at Wimbledon this year, Federer will face Marin Cilic in the Center Court showdown.
While the Croat comes armed with a huge serve and some grand slam pedigree, as the last person outside of the world’s current top five to win a major, Federer admits it will be a nice change to see a fresh face on the other side of the net.
“Thank God I’ve played also guys who were not called Rafa, Andy or Novak (in finals) in the past,” Federer told reporters.