Roger Federer's defeat at the hands of the 12th- seeded Czech, Tomas Berdych, has ended the top seed's defence of his title and his hopes of equalling Pete Sampras's record seven titles – at least for now. This will be the first time in eight years that the Swiss player has failed to reach the final; in the middle of the second and last week, the men's championship has been thrown wide open.
Federer's past two Wimbledon singles titles were hard won, going to record numbers of games and culminating in thrilling final sets. This year's finalists – whoever they turn out to be – will have an extroardinarily hard act to follow.
Over the years, Federer has also set the standard for decency on the court. He took his elimination yesterday in characteristically phlegmatic and uncomplaining style, referring only to "a bit of a back and a leg issue" that prevented him from playing as freely as he would have liked, and paying tribute to his vanquisher for taking every chance he got. He plans a rest and a return to the fray in North America. We wish him well, and hope to see him back next year. There are Wimbledon records still to be broken, and they are not yet beyond his – considerable – reach.Reuse content