Federer remains a formidable threat in Wimbledon

Roger Federer has already reached targets and set standards which only a few may ever challenge, but to return to the final of the French Open in June 2011 was an assurance to him of where he stands and to everyone else in the game that he still represents a formidable threat.

When Federer beat Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals in Paris, he not only brought to an end a sequence of victories by the Serb totalling 43 matches stretching from last winter and into the early summer, but he may have seriously upset the balance at the very top of the game in which he believes he still has a major part to play.

Federer raised his racket arm in triumph, his index finger pointing to the sky, after defeating Djokovic and although he could not halt Rafael Nadal in the French final he has put on hold any further suggestions that his life at the top may be under threat.

"It was just important to get to another Grand Slam final," he said, "and to keep playing well. I am feeling better physically than I have for a long time, so that's been very positive."

Federer would not have enjoyed losing to Nadal as the Spaniard won the French title for a sixth time, but there were plenty of bonus points throughout his run at Roland Garros to underline that he is ready for Wimbledon, ready to end the misery of losing in the quarter-finals to Tomas Berdych last year after being in seven finals in a row.

Federer says of Wimbledon: "This is where it all started for me, in 2003, or even with Sampras in 2001, so that is why I always enjoy coming back. It's obviously a huge priority now, that is always for me number one goal for the season."

When Federer won over Sampras in the quarter-finals ten years ago, he had had two first-round losses at Wimbledon. But, inspired beyond all reasonable expectation, he took out Sampras in five sets, thus ending beyond any argument the 31-match winning streak which Sampras owned. For Sampras there was no coming back, then or any other year.

So where Sampras had stood, so did Federer. Sampras had won 14 Grand Slams and Federer eventually overtook him here at The Championships in 2009 with his 15th major, making him the all-time leader - a record which he extended to 16 with his Australian Open triumph in 2010.

So what now? Federer will be 30 on 8 August and will know that the clock may tick a little more urgently from that point, possibly affecting some of the factors in his make-up which have put him where he is in the game. Grand Slam titles have been won by men over 30 - the left-handed Australian Rod Laver did so twice at Wimbledon and the US Open in 1969 - but it remains a huge ask within the modern professional game.

Federer knows how to take care of himself and when he looks back on the 2011 French Open, can reflect that in beating Djokovic, he defeated the form player of the year in a Grand Slam semi-final and that he may now be back where he wanted to be.

But Federer also knows that the 2012 Olympic Games are just around the corner, and in tennis terms will be played out on the same Wimbledon courts where he has already earned his huge reputation. Of course Federer will be one year older when the Olympic medals are decided, but clearly he relishes the Olympic atmosphere and how it inspires people across all sports. He carried the Swiss flag at the opening ceremonies of the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and again in Beijing in 2008. Thousands of other competitors loved the fact that one of the world's best tennis players was in their midst, day by day.

But the singles medals at the Olympics have not come Federer's way. In the humidity of Beijing it was Nadal who took the gold medal at his first attempt. Djokovic took the bronze. And Federer? He went home to Switzerland with a gold medal for the doubles, won with Stanislas Wawrinka after a great campaign.

So can Federer remain in shape, physically and mentally, for two more Wimbledon Championships, and one more shot at an Olympic medal? It is a challenge for which, at the moment, he seems more than well-equipped.

Date: 14.06.2011, Source: Wimbledon


  1. As I know Federer took a lot of tournaments before the Wimbledon to ensure his form is fit. I believe that this year's tournament he will leave a big mark behind himself, but to be frank I don't support the theory that he will win it.

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