Federer's eyes on Nadal, Djokovic at Wimbledon

Roger Federer insists he is still hungry enough for grand slam glory and will do whatever it takes to break Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal's grip on the top prizes.

For years, Federer reigned supreme at Wimbledon, winning the grass-court grand slam six times, while also enjoying huge success at most of the other major events.

The Swiss star amassed a record 16 grand slam crowns and occupied the world number one ranking for a total of 285 weeks.

But those halcyon days must seem like a distant memory to the 30-year-old, who heads into Wimbledon, which starts on Monday, without a grand slam title to his name since the 2010 Australian Open.

That barren sequence includes successive Wimbledon quarter-final exits as Djokovic and Nadal have run amok, winning nine grand slams between them since Federer last lifted a major trophy.

Such is Nadal and Djokovic's stranglehold on the sport that they have made the last four grand slam finals a private battle for supremacy.

Having won so much in his illustrious career and with other priorities now -- Federer is a father to young twin daughters -- it has been suggested that his appetite for success has started to fade.

But Federer is adamant he is still willing to put in the hard work required to keep up with, and ultimately defeat, Djokovic and Nadal.

"My confidence is very good. I've won many tournaments, so many matches the last year or so that I feel perfect in this regard," Federer said on the eve of his 14th Wimbledon appearance.

"I'm match fit and I'm match tough right now. That's also key going into a grand slam. The hunger is obviously big. I don't think I need to elaborate too much on that."

"I've explained many times how hungry and motivated I am to be playing, playing at this high level, wanting to win the big tournaments."

He is currently ranked third in the world, yet could regain the number one spot if he wins Wimbledon for a record-equalling seventh time.

Moving level with Pete Sampras is a significant motivation, but Federer, seeded third, is more concerned with breaking the Djokovic-Nadal duopoly.

"They've done amazing the last years," Federer said. "Obviously Novak stood out the most because of his amazing streak last year but then Rafa was able to defend his French Open title."

"It wasn't a surprise, but it's always impressive to see Rafa do that. As long as they're No.1 and No.2, they don't face each other in the semis. It's maybe a good thing for them and a hard thing for others."

"At the same time I've very close to breaking that and hopefully I can make a run here at Wimbledon. I fancy my chances here and at the US Open."

Even if Federer has had to play second fiddle to Djokovic and Nadal too often recently, he will always back himself at Wimbledon, especially when the draw appears as favourable as this year.

Federer plays Spain's Albert Ramos in the first round and his path to the semi-finals, where he is scheduled to meet world number one Djokovic, appears relatively straightforward.

"I am dreaming of the title. There's no denying that. But I've played two quarter-finals now the last couple years. I want to do better," Federer said.

"A seventh title here would be amazing. That would be tying Pete, which I think would be absolutely fantastic after admiring Pete when I was younger."

Date: 23.06.2012, Source: AFP


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