Roger Alton Roger Alton

Rog apart, Wimbledon 2017 was a disgrace

Also in Sport: England’s woeful cricket collapse and the courage of Chris Froome

For obvious reasons this column always welcomes ‘King Roger Rules The World’ headlines on the back pages. And the front too. So warm congrats from one Rog to the greatest Rog of all. Is Federer the best sportsman ever? Pelé? Ali? Bradman? Maybe, but it’s hard to challenge Rog. Look at this year: two grand slams at 35 and four children under seven to tire him out, too. What odds on the two sets of Federer twins for the mixed doubles in 2040? Their dad will probably still be reaching the quarter-finals. Though just a word Rog: maybe you were slightly overdoing the whole Von Trapp shtick with the younger twins in their little suits and you in floods of tears. I mean I know you’re Swiss, but baby blue?

The Fed is now so far ahead that he felt compelled to give the next bunch of tennis players a sharp bollocking for being tactically naive and not competitive enough. ‘Since my generation and Rafa’s generation, yes, the next one hasn’t been strong enough to push all of us out really.’

This slight lack of modesty has always been appealing; not that Rog has much to be modest about. The ready-made personalised ‘Ro8er’ T-shirts were the sign of a man who knew what he was doing. Maybe just a bit naff. But that’s why we love him.

But without Rog and a couple of fine matches (Nadal, Konta) Wimbledon was a disgrace: two poor finals, and a first round full of players picking up 35 grand for turning up unfit or unwilling to try. Andy Murray effectively gave up against Sam Querrey, though he did have a good excuse. Djokovic gave up; so did Venus Williams. And Cilic weeping over his blister? It’s hard to imagine Pete Sampras doing that, or Ivan Lendl.

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