Roger Fererer was all class in his Wimbledon victory speech as he lauded Marin Cilic for his remarkble run to the final.
In scenes rarely seen on tennis's most famous centre court, Cilic broke down and buried his head in his towel after falling behind a set and 3-0 against the peerless Swiss.
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The Croat called for a trainer and doctor and even had the tournament supervisor on hand, but battled on to finish the match.
Federer addressed Cilic's gutsy effort immediately after claiming a record eighth Wimbledon crown.
"It is cruel sometimes but he fought well and he's a hero," Federer said.
"Congratulations on a wonderful tournament.
"You should be really proud, you did as good as you could and you had a wonderful tournament."
The crestfallen Croat revealed his dramatic Wimbledon tears were borne from despair not pain after suffering a shattering finals loss to the Swiss ace.
Cilic called for a trainer and doctor and even had the tournament supervisor on hand, but battled on to finish the match.
He later conceded it was the anguish of not being at his physical best, rather than "blisters", that led to his spectacular meltdown.
"It was just a feeling that I knew that I cannot give my best on the court, that I cannot give my best game and my best tennis, especially at this stage of my career, at such a big match," he said.
"It was very, very difficult to deal with it. That was the only thing.
"But, otherwise, it didn't hurt so much that it was putting me in tears. It was just that feeling that I wasn't able to give the best."
Cilic was attempting to become the first Croatian to win the title - and second ever - since his one-time coach Gordan Ivanisevic denied Pat Rafter in a classic five-set decider in 2001.
Despite his heartache, Cilic accepted Federer as a worthy winner of his record eighth Wimbledon men's singles crown.
"I don't want to put down his victory in any way," Cilic said.
"He deserved it completely. These things are part of the sport."