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Thursday, May 24, 2018

Roger Federer’s secret weapon at Wimbledon? The closed roof

Roger Federer incredibly won Wimbledon for a record-tying seventh time last Sunday, giving him a record 17 grand slams in all. The win was unbelievably impressive for many reasons.

Federer hadn’t won a major since taking the Australian in 2010. He had only reached one final in the nine grand slams since then, and many people like myself thought he had been surpassed by other players in the game. Federer proved that at age 30 his days of winning titles aren’t over.

As LBS contributor Gene pointed out, Federer can attribute a lot of his surprising run at Wimbledon to the closed roof.

The roof on Centre Court, which was added to the stadium in 2009, was closed at various times throughout the tournament so that matches could be played despite the poor weather. The closed roof keeps the elements like wind from being a factor, and it creates an indoor court-like environment that Federer excels in.

The roof was closed for Federer’s semifinal match against Novak Djokovic on Centre Court. Djokovic had gone 6-1 against Federer since 2011, but they met on grass for the first time and Roger won in four sets 6-3, 3-6, 6-4, 6-3.

In the finals, the match started with the Centre Court roof open, but it was closed during the third set. Federer won 86 points prior to the roof closing and Andy Murray won 85. After the roof closed, Federer won 65 points and Murray won 52.

After the match, both players acknowledged the difference the indoor environment made.

“I’m happy that closing the roof maybe helped me today because I wasn’t sure if that was going to help me or not,” said Federer.

“When the roof closed, he played unbelievable tennis,” Murray said.

Federer has gone 198-51 for his career indoors, and five of the six tour championships he’s won were indoors. Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, and Andy Murray haven’t won any tour championship tournaments indoors. Had the roof been left open for Friday’s semifinal or Sunday’s final, it’s possible we would have been looking at a different Wimbledon champion. With it closed, Roger dominates.

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