At Wimbledon, a favourite Swiss son continues a 21-year romance

Somewhere in Tbilisi, Georgia, a chess-loving 38-year-old is possibly wondering about the enduring elasticity of Roger Federer. Irakli Labadze was a leftie, ranked No. 42 at his best, who played Federer in the 1998 Wimbledon juniors final. He lost. The final point was, what else, a unreturnable wide serve on the deuce court from a boy Federer.

The Georgian retired in 2010 but Federer remains active, two months from 38 himself, back at Wimbledon for a 21st time and still seeking trophies. There was a cologne once called Roger Federer. It did not last but almost everything else of the Swiss has.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Sunday Times on June 30, 2019, with the headline 'At Wimbledon, a favourite Swiss son continues a 21-year romance'. Print Edition | Subscribe