Federer expecting close-run Championships

Six-time Wimbledon champion Roger Federer believes The Championships this year will be a close-run contest, with all of the World’s Top 4 feeling confident about their grass-court games. Andy Murray comes into Wimbledon having just won his second Queen’s Club title, Rafael Nadal is a two-time Wimbledon champion, while Novak Djokovic has reached the semi-finals at the All England Club twice.

"I think that's maybe something that's a bit different than in the past, where maybe one of the top four guys wouldn't feel so comfortable on grass," said Federer on Saturday at his pre-tournament press conference. "But this year it seems like all of us are, which is a good thing.

"I think as time went by, [Rafael] Nadal showed how good he was; won a couple times here in the meantime. [Andy] Murray's game is very natural for this surface. I think [Novak] Djokovic has always been great, but nothing extraordinary yet. But with the run he's on, obviously there's a lot of possibilities for him as well here."

The Swiss comes into Wimbledon fully recovered from the groin strain he picked up in reaching the Roland Garros final, where he finished runner-up to Nadal after ending Djokovic’s 41-match unbeaten start to the year in the semi-finals. More records are on the line for Federer at Wimbledon, with the chance to equal Pete Sampras’ tally of seven titles at the All England Club.

"Obviously that’s something very special and important at this point really," said Federer. "I feel good about myself, about my body. I'm happy about my game, and I am happy it showed in Paris. Obviously I come into this tournament very confident.

"After that I hope I get into the tournament a bit better than last year where I almost lost in the first round (against Alejandro Falla). That's the concern I have right now, not trying to break all these different records. I mean, it's nice they're somewhat close, but still they're far. I still have a lot of work to put in these next couple of weeks."

The 29-year-old Federer is a winner of 11 tour-level grass-court titles and has reached the final at Wimbledon in seven of the past eight years; his only blemish on that record was a quarter-final loss to Tomas Berdych last year. Preparing for his 13th assault on The Championships, Federer is unconcerned by a lack of grass-court match play leading in, and is pleased with the transition he has made from the clay in practice.

"The first time I hit here on Monday, very easily, like right away after 10 minutes, it feels so natural for me to play on grass," he said. "I hope that feeling is going to pay off by going deep and then hopefully winning the tournament here."

Date: 18.06.2011, Source: ATP


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