LONDON — What a weekend for the oldsters. Roger Federer won the Wimbledon men’s singles at the All England Club Sunday, one day after fellow 30-year-old Serena Williams won the ladies’ event.
In a sport that is considered no place for old men or women, where even late 20s is a passport to somewhere over the hill, Federer and Williams escaped with the hardware even if people suspect they’ve got hardening of the arteries.
“The other day,’’ mused 25-year-old Andy Murray, moments after getting erased by Federer in the final, “I was asked if I thought this was my best chance, you know with Roger 30 now. Well, he’s not bad for a 30-year old.’’
Federer, who hadn’t won here since 2009 and was without a Grand Slam title since Australia 2010, regained the world’s No. 1 ranking with the win. After winning here, he received an e-mail with well wishes from Tiger Woods, Federer’s own career and the win here placing him in the discussion as one of the great athletes of all time — with Woods, Michael Jordan, and the like.
“The other sports, I mean, that’s so different anyway that you can’t compare,’’ said Federer. “But I drew a lot of inspiration from other great athletes in other sports. I think like Pete [Sampras], Stefan Edberg, and [Boris] Becker. I don’t know, maybe Jordan, Tiger Woods, you name it. Valentino Rossi [Italian professional motorcycle racer]. They inspire me to keep on pushing further.
“You sometimes do need to see someone else do it for a long time, so that you feel it is actually possible.’’
Double the fun
Hours after she salted away her fifth singles title Saturday with her win over rising Polish star Agnieszka Radwanska, Williams teamed with her sister, Venus, to capture the doubles title with a 7-5, 6-4 trimming of the Czech duo of Andrea Hlavackova and Lucie Hradecka.
It was the fifth time the Williams women have captured the doubles title at the All England Club, winning in 2000, ’02, ’08, and ’09. They’ve combined for 13 Slams titles in doubles.
Venus was eliminated in the opening round of the singles by Elena Vesnina. Two years older than her sister at 32, Venus recently was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, an autoimmune system-related disease that saps her energy, leading to speculation that she may cut back on her singles play.
A major no-show
Contrary to speculation the previous couple of days, Queen Elizabeth II did not make an appearance in the Royal Box, even with loyal subject and proud Scot Murray trying to win one for the UK . . . Kate Middleton was back again, but this time without dear William, opting instead drag along her sister, Pippa.
Going way back
One from the way-back machine: Made my first trip here 40 years ago, for the first time visiting family in northern England. Both my mother and sister were born near Manchester. British weather being what it is, the state of the sky is under constant review, rare shards of blue always worthy of note. Throughout her life, whenever spotting a rare sapphire patch, my mother would muse, “Ah, a bit of blue, just enough to knit a man a pair of trousers.’’ Week No. 2 of the fortnight saw very little knitting. Rain slowed the Federer-Murray match by 39 minutes at the start of the third set. The Centre Court roof takes approximately a half-hour to close and it took Wimbledon officials 3-5 minutes to decide whether to close it or play cat-and-mouse with the weather. Technology proved to be the better mouse trap.