Roger Federer

Joel Embiid and Roger Federer are basically the same

Joel Embiid and Roger Federer are basically the same

Behold: Joel Embiid, two-sport athlete. The Sixers center participated in a 5-on-5 full-court scrimmage on Thursday — his first true practice or real NBA action since suffering a torn meniscus last season. This just days after the world discovered Embiid is also an avid tennis player, and to hear him tell it, one with Roger Federer-like ability.

Don't let the first few seconds of video fool you. Embiid's amateurish lobs quickly give way to some real smashes in footage that went viral earlier this week. There's some real power and torque coming off the 7-foot-0, 250-pounder's serve, so much so that for a moment, you're almost able to convince yourself he can go on tour.

Just get a load of this video taken by @DanielJLogan.

As with almost everything Embiid does in public, the footage drew quite a bit of attention. So while he practiced — and reportedly dominated the hardwood — on Thursday, the real question was how good is his tennis game really? Are the Sixers in danger of losing arguably their best player and a 23-year-old superstar to the ATP?

"It's really good," Embiid said of his tennis acumen. "I'm a really good server. They call me the black Roger Federer."

With 19 career Grand Slam titles, Federer is only the most successful and perhaps greatest single tennis player in history. In other words, we don't doubt for one second Embiid is basically just as good.

Roger Federer wins 8th Wimbledon title, beating Marin Cilic in final

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Roger Federer wins 8th Wimbledon title, beating Marin Cilic in final

LONDON -- Roger Federer's wait for No. 8 at Wimbledon is over.

He is once again the champion of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, now more often than any other man in the history of an event first held in 1877.

Federer won his eighth title at the All England Club and 19th major trophy overall, capping a marvelous fortnight in which he never dropped a set by overwhelming Marin Cilic 6-3, 6-1, 6-4 on Sunday in a lopsided final that was more coronation than contest.

When it ended on an ace from Federer after merely 1 hour, 41 minutes, he raised both arms overhead. Soon, he was sitting on the sideline, wiping tears from his eyes.

"I always believed that I could maybe come back and do it again. And if you believe, you can go really, really far in your life, and I did that," Federer said. "And I'm happy I kept on believing and dreaming and here I am today for the eighth. It's fantastic."

His first major title came at Wimbledon in 2003, and was followed by others in 2004, 2005, 2006 and 2007. He won again in 2009 and 2012. But then he lost finals in 2014 and 2015 to Novak Djokovic.

The gold trophy that he was denied on those occasions was in Federer's hands Sunday. He turns 36 on Aug. 8, making the father of four the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era. Both of his sets of twins -- boys, 3, in their light blue blazers; girls, 7, in their dresses -- were in the guest box for the trophy ceremony.

One son stuck a couple of fingers in his mouth; a daughter grabbed her brother's hand.

"They have no clue what's on. They think it's probably a nice view and a nice playground. But it's not quite like that here, so one day hopefully they'll understand," Federer said about his boys.

As for the girls, he said: "They enjoy to watch a little bit. They come for the finals, I guess."

When Dad is Roger Federer, you can wait until the last Sunday to show up.

Truly, this outcome was only in doubt for about 20 minutes, the amount of time it took Federer to grab his first lead.

Cilic said afterward he developed a painful blister on his left foot during his semifinal Friday, and that affected his ability to move properly or summon the intimidating serves that carried him to his lone Grand Slam title at the 2014 U.S. Open, where he surprisingly beat Federer in straight sets in the semifinals.

This one was all Federer, whose seventh championship five years ago pulled him even with Pete Sampras and William Renshaw in what's still officially called Gentlemen's Singles. Sampras won all but one of his in the 1990s; Renshaw won each of his in the 1880s, when the previous year's champion advanced automatically to the final.

With clouds overhead and a bit of chill in the air Sunday, Federer's early play was symptomatic of jitters. For everything he's accomplished, for all of the bright lights and big settings to which he's become accustomed, the guy many have labeled the "GOAT" -- Greatest of All Time -- admits to feeling heavy legs and jumbled thoughts to this day.

And so it was that Federer, not Cilic, hit a double-fault in each of his first two service games. And it was Federer, not Cilic, who faced the match's initial break point, in the match's fourth game. But Cilic netted a return there, beginning a run of 17 points in a row won by Federer on his serve. He would never be confronted with another break point.

"I gave it my best," Cilic said. "That's all I could do."

In the very next game, Federer broke to lead 3-2. He broke again to take that set when Cilic double-faulted, walked to the changeover and slammed his racket on his sideline chair. Cilic then sat and covered his head with a towel.

After Federer raced to a 3-0 lead in the second set, Cilic cried while he was visited by a doctor and trainer. He said that was not so much a result of his foot's pain as the idea that he could not play well enough to challenge Federer.

"Obviously, it was very tough emotionally," said Cilic, whose foot was re-taped by a trainer after the second set. "I knew that I cannot give my best on the court. ... It was very difficult to deal with it."

Federer broke to a 4-3 edge in the third set and all that remained to discover was how he'd finish. It was with his eighth ace, at 114 mph (184 kph), part of a total of 23 winners. He made only eight unforced errors.

This caps a remarkable reboot for Federer, who departed Wimbledon a year ago with a lot of doubts: His body was letting him down for the first time in his career.

He'd had surgery on his left knee, then sat out the French Open because of a bad back, ending a record streak of participating in 65 consecutive majors. After Wimbledon, he did not play the rest of the year, skipping the Rio Olympics, the U.S. Open and everything else in an attempt to let his knee heal properly.

It worked. Did it ever.

Feeling refreshed and fully fit, Federer returned to the tour in January and was suddenly playing like the guy of old, rather than like an old guy.

In a turn-back-the-clock moment, he faced rival Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final and, with a fifth-set comeback, won. It was Federer's 18th Grand Slam title, adding to his own record, and first in 4 years. Those who had written Federer off needed to grab their erasers.

The formula made sense, clearly, so why not try it again? Federer skipped the clay-court circuit, missing the French Open again, to be in top shape for the grass courts he loves so dearly. Sunday's victory made Federer's record 31-2 in 2017, with a tour-leading five titles.

"Obviously, now if he wins, everybody thinks it's a great -- it was the best -- decision," coach Severin Luthi said about the more recent time off. "But you don't have the guarantee for that."

Federer is back to being supreme in tennis, lording over the sport the way no man has.

"It's magical, really," Federer said. "I can't believe it yet."

Federer into 11th Wimbledon final; faces Cilic for 8th title

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Federer into 11th Wimbledon final; faces Cilic for 8th title

LONDON -- Roger Federer is here once more, back in a Wimbledon final for the 11th time, back on the verge of an eighth championship at the All England Club, more than any man has collected in the storied, century-plus history of the place.

Nearly 36, and a father of four, Federer continued his resurgent season and unchallenged run through this fortnight by conjuring up just enough brilliance to beat 2010 Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych 7-6 (4), 7-6 (4), 6-4 on Friday.

"Can't almost believe it's true again," Federer said.

He has won every set he's played in this year's tournament and while he did not dominate the semifinal, he was never in much trouble. On Sunday, Federer will face 2014 U.S. Open champion Marin Cilic, who reached his first final at the All England Club by eliminating 24th-seeded Sam Querrey of the U.S. 6-7 (6), 6-4, 7-6 (3), 7-5 with the help of 25 aces and some terrific returning.

Since equaling Pete Sampras and William Renshaw (who played in the 1880s) with a seventh title at Wimbledon in 2012, Federer has come this close before to No. 8. But he lost to Novak Djokovic in the 2014 and 2015 finals.

Now comes another chance.

Federer would be the oldest man to win Wimbledon in the Open era, which dates to 1968; as it is, he's the oldest finalist since Ken Rosewall was 39 in 1974.

"This guy doesn't seem like he's getting any older or slowing down," said Berdych, who wore shoes with a silhouette of Djokovic's face on the tongue. "He's just proving his greatness in our sport."

Also noteworthy: This is Federer's second major final of 2017. After taking off the last half of last year while letting a surgically repaired left knee heal, he won the Australian Open in January for his record-extending 18th Grand Slam trophy.

"Giving your body rest from time to time is a good thing, as we see now," Federer said. "And I'm happy it's paying off because for a second, of course, there is doubts there that maybe one day you'll never be able to come back and play a match on Centre Court at Wimbledon. But it happened, and it's happened many, many times this week."

Now only Cilic stands in Federer's way at Wimbledon. They met in the quarterfinals a year ago, when Federer came all the way back after dropping the first two sets to win in five, before exiting in the semifinals.

They love their history around these parts and they love Federer and, above all, they love watching him make history. Spectators roared at many of his best offerings against Berdych, who was seeded 11th.

Trailing 3-2 in the third set, for example, Federer faced a couple of break points at 15-40 and extricated himself from that sticky situation this way: ace at 107 mph (173 kph), ace at 116 mph (187 kph), service winner at 120 mph (194 kph), ace at 119 mph (192 kph). And in the very next game, he surged to a 4-3 lead by breaking Berdych. That was pretty much that.

There were other moments of magic. The down-the-line forehand passing winner that landed right on the opposite baseline in the second set, leaving Berdych slumping his shoulders. Or the no-look, flicked backhand winner several games later that not many players would even try, let alone manage to do.

Still, this would not quite qualify as a vintage, Federer-at-his-wondrous-best performance. He was hardly perfect out there. He even double-faulted twice in one game to get broken in the opening set. He was pushed to a pair of tiebreakers, too. And yet there never was a sense Berdych could win.

Querrey, in contrast, took the first set against Cilic under odd circumstances. Things were close as can be between the pair of 6-foot-6 (1.98-meter) big servers in the early going, right up to 6-all in games and 6-all in the tiebreaker. Cilic was playing so cleanly until that moment, delivering 12 winners before his initial unforced error; he would finish with a 70-21 margin.

But Cilic seemed distracted by a delay of a couple of minutes after his first-serve fault at 6-6, when a female spectator who appeared to feel ill was helped from her seat and out of the stands. Awarded another first serve, he managed only a 113 mph offering that Querrey handled easily, and the next stroke was a badly missed backhand by Cilic. Now down 7-6, Cilic flubbed another backhand, pushing it wide to cede the set.

The fourth turned with Querrey up 4-3 and serving at 30-love. Cilic seized the next four points to break, pounding a forehand return winner, a down-the-line backhand winner, another big return that startled Querrey and led to a drop shot winner, and a massive forehand return off a 79 mph (127 kph) second serve that drew a shanked backhand. His lead gone, Querrey yelled, "No!"

"I don't think it was anything that didn't work for Sam. It was more Marin locking in and getting a good read on Sam's serve," said Querrey's coach, Craig Boynton. "I haven't seen someone return Sam's serve like that in a long time."