Wimbledon: ‘Outsider’ Roger Federer determined to gatecrash top pair’s party
For almost a decade it seemed Roger Federer was guest of honour on finals day at nearly every grand slam event but, over the past 12 months, Novak Djokovic and Rafa Nadal have conspired to strike him off the guest list.
Between winning his first major at Wimbledon in 2003 and a record 16th slam at the Australian Open in 2010, Federer failed to reach the showpiece match in one of the big four tournaments just five times and contested an astonishing 22 finals. So regular were his appearances in the finals that, when he was absent, it felt a little like attending a Madonna concert where the Queen of Pop had failed to show up.
Unfortunately for Federer, considered the most gifted player to have swung a tennis racket, his run of success has dried up and he is not happy being just one of the crowd.
Wimbledon, US Open and Australian Open champion Djokovic and Nadal have split the last nine major trophies between them and they have also contested the last four slam finals.
Federer feels it is time someone gatecrashed their party and winning a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown would be a good start.
“It’s my time of the year now,” explained Federer who was kitted out in a collared, long-sleeved cream jumper complete with purple trim and a green “RF” logo embossed on the upper right arm when he spoke to reporters at the weekend.
“I fancy my chances here and at the US Open. It’s exciting times ahead.”
With the Olympic Games also on the horizon, players have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to win at Wimbledon twice in a month. Asked if that prospect reduced or increased the pressure on Federer ahead of today’s first-round clash with Spaniard Albert Ramos on No 1 Court, the Swiss added: “It takes it away because you get two shots at it. But obviously the Olympics is only every four years so that creates a lot of pressure. I’ve been there already three times so I think that’s going to help me out.
“It’s also going to help me out that I’ve actually won an Olympic gold already in doubles [in 2008]. Whereas people think ‘you have to win this one and there’s a lot of pressure on you’, I see it another way and I’m not just saying this to get pressure off my back. I can handle any pressure really.”
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Saturday 25 May 2013
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Temperature: 9 C to 16 C
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