“We both had a very long, very tough year, a lot of matches, a lot of emotions, a lot of things in play”, Djokovic said.
The first man to reach the quarterfinals was Marin Cilic.
A despondent Murray was open-minded on what his plans were following the loss, understandably reluctant to give a time frame on what was next for him in term of playing. He turns 36 in a few weeks. “I’m not suggesting that it is”, said Murray on Monday after his straight-sets win over Benoit Paire on Centre Court.
Djokovic was today forced to retire during the second set of his quarter-final against Tomas Berdych with what he later revealed was an elbow injury.
The ladies event, in stark contrast, still has a much more open feel and if Venus Williams can not become champion for a sixth time – and she would have to be by some distance the oldest in modern times at 37 to do so – then it’s extremely hard to identify an obvious first-time victor. The specialists I’ve talked with haven’t been too clear, mentioning also surgery, mentioning different options. Is that right? I think so, just because of timing, as well.
“That had given me a little bit more belief, a little bit more confidence that players and people around are also seeing that I’m in a great form, that I’m able to do great things”. He’s got a good team around him, good on him.
But from there, Federer was at his sparkling best, winning the next three games with his sublime service and leaving Raonic in a daze.
His problem, though, was a big one, the one that beat him in the semis here past year: Milos Raonic.
Federer leads Raonic 9-3 in head-to-head meetings and has reached his 50th Grand Slam quarter-final without dropping a set.
When, to his huge credit, Raonic finally began to threaten in the third set, going 3-0 up in the tiebreak, it was Federer they were cheering for. “Yeah, I want to come back because I want to play more times in the Centre Court”, said the Mallorcan 15-time Grand Slam champion.
“It was just.an incredible match”. He has faced only 14 break points.
He finished an injury-hit 2016 season in October to fully rehabilitate from a wrist injury.
There is no doubt that, in contrast with the Australian Open, where Federer’s ranking ensured he had to beat four top-10 players, including old rival Rafael Nadal, to win the title, the draw here has opened up in an unexpected way.
Cilic, who won the U.S. Open in 2014, has never before made the semifinals at the All England Club.
With the next generation coming and the sport’s so-called Big Four once again filling the top four seeds, few could have predicted the 35-year-old’s last three potential challengers to be a pair of unfulfilled veterans and surprise 2014 US Open victor Cilic.
Everybody watching well knew – the subject has been covered to death – Murray has been struggling throughout with a bum hip.