If you look back to recent history, only four men have won Wimbledon in the past 13 years – Andy Murray, Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. Nadal who’s won it twice, has been forced to withdraw from the championships with a wrist injury, while Federer, who’s won a grand seven times, has been seeded at number three which makes him seem like a long shot. But it just might work to his advantage if other forget that the Swiss has long been considered by many fans and experts to be the greatest tennis player of all time.
Man would like to see him win Wimbledon one more time and set records that others would be hard pressed to catch. Even his seven titles, 79 match wins, quarter-finals or better in 12 of the past 13 years seems daunting. Roger Federer’s success at Wimbledon is unmatched and unparalleled and it’s probably where he will come out and shine again.
Federer comes back to the All England Club for a record-tying 18th straight year, with an almost unimaginable eighth title enticing him in. Yet he remains humble and told media that his attitude and expectations are much different this time around, but that his passion for the tournament hasn’t waned.
“I think this is a huge boost for me after pulling out of Paris, that I’m back here at my favourite tournament,” Federer said to the assembled media on Saturday. “With all the success I’ve had here, this is the motivation I need right now to get back on the big courts, play good matches and enjoy Wimbledon…I love this tournament more than anything. It’s a huge opportunity for me to turn around the season and just play some nice tennis, enjoy myself here.”
He is in the middle of quite an up and down 2016 campaign, which already saw him undergo surgery for the first time in his career, due to a knee injury he suffered back in February. He is going into this year’s Wimbledon without at least one ATP World Tour title for the first time since 2000. That seems astouding when you consider his past successes.
He looks like he is still in search of his rhythm on the court. Currently, the World No. 3 had outlines how stressful and difficult a process it has been, but that his semi-final results in Stuttgart and Halle, and a return to his favourite hunting ground at SW19 has renewed his confidence. He feels he can win.
“I was very, very sad, just because I thought I was going to be lucky not having to do surgery in my career,” Federer told media. “One stupid move and the season’s been completely different than what I expected it to be. So when I heard that I had to do surgery, I took it, accepted it. But then going into surgery was difficult. That’s when it hit me. It was a meniscus tear in the knee. It was a simple operation. My recovery actually was very quick and very good.
“Getting some confidence and some knowledge of where I was going to be in those seven matches in 10 days in Stuttgart and Halle [was important]. I think that was crucial for me going into Wimbledon knowing I passed that test and that the body can take that amount of tennis.
“It’s really, really important for your mind to know you can manage the five‑setters. If you get a day off and all that stuff, it’s not a problem. All of a sudden you’re coming into Wimbledon with more confidence, more understanding where you’re at. Now we’ll see.”
There will be some new and fresh faces that will stand against him as he begins his trek for another Wimbledon title. For example he has never faced his first-round opponent and World No. 51 Guido Pella or potential second-round opponents Ricardas Berankis and Marcus Willis. That should be a test in itself. Plus Kei Nishikori, Milos Raonic and two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic are possible matches in his half of the draw, so things could get sticky quite quickly. But ever the optimist, Federer’s focus is on the task at hand and to not get ahead of himself.
“Clearly I’m not thinking of the title right away. It’s too far ahead. Regardless, Novak or Andy are the big favourites in my opinion. They’ve had such a great last six months, last few years. To me they are the ones to beat.
“I need to focus on myself, getting myself into those positions, the second week and growing momentum. The whole thing starts rolling then hopefully. Getting the job done in the first week is clearly important.”
We can bet on Federer to open his Wimbledon campaign against Pella on Monday and start climbling the mountain from there, with a win in straight sets.