Federer's Previous Brilliance Returns

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It wasn't long ago that Roger Federer, No. 1 in the world again and a Wimbledon champion for a record-tying seventh time, looked this spectacular all the time.

Opponents would push him, frustrate him and occasionally break his serve or win sets. And then the flurry of forehands would come, one left, one right, one left and, inevitably, one out of reach. Or an ace, or two. Or a perfect slice backhand, barely over the net and on the line. Or a dazzling drop shot, or a lob so elegant and accurate that his opponent would fall down as he gave chase. One thing was always certain: All would be well with Federer. Only under rare circumstances—say, for example, on clay against Rafael Nadal—would he lose.

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