Father Federer sets his sights on seventh heaven

The house where he is staying during Wimbledon is bigger than before – there is a separate room for Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, the 11-month-old twins – but in most other respects little has changed since Roger Federer last played at the All England Club. As defending champion he will open proceedings on Centre Court tomorrow and, as usual, he will start as favourite.

Although Federer has not won a title since the Australian Open, he should at least have less on his mind than he did last year, when his wife, Mirka, was eight months' pregnant. After leaving the All England Club the six-time champion spent half of the next five weeks in hospital with his wife and, eventually, their two children. But he was on the practice court within four days of their birth, had won a Masters Series title in Cincinnati within a month and reached a Grand Slam final within two.

On his return to the All England Club last week Federer said he felt fatherhood had actually improved his game. "I played such great tennis in Cincinnati and also at the US Open that right away I knew that actually it had only helped me to play better tennis and maybe to relax a bit," he said. "Maybe I put a bit too much pressure on myself [in the past], always trying to prove myself.

"Then winning the Australian Open was massive for me, proving to me that I could win a Grand Slam on hard courts again, even when guys like Rafa [Nadal], [Andy] Murray, [Novak] Djokovic, [Nikolay] Davydenko and [Juan Martin] Del Potro were playing such great tennis on that surface.

"I've struggled since, but I think that's more because I haven't played enough. [After Australia] I didn't play until Indian Wells and Miami and when I was in the US I only played four matches in one month. It's been a slow season for me, but I feel that now I'm really picking up my game again."

Nevertheless, Federer goes into Wimbledon having seen his run of 23 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam semi-finals end at the French Open. He has also just lost for a second time on grass in 77 matches. The Swiss was beaten in Halle last weekend by Lleyton Hewitt, the only current player who has won more matches on grass.

Victory at Wimbledon last year took Federer past Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam titles. Winning again in a fortnight's time would see him match the American's haul of seven Wimbledon crowns, but Federer says chasing records is not what motivates him.

"What I want to experience again is lifting the trophy," he said. "I want to feel the atmosphere, the great crowds here. If No 7 comes along that's great, but I don't need to be on the same level with Pete. Beating every record Pete set is not my goal. He's a good friend. It's not the ultimate drive for me."

Arts and Entertainment
Sydney and Melbourne are locked in a row over giant milk crates
art
News
A scene from the video shows students mock rioting
newsEnd-of-year leaver's YouTube film features staging of a playground gun massacre
Travel
travel
Voices
A family sit and enjoy a quiet train journey
voicesForcing us to overhear dull phone conversations is an offensive act, says Simon Kelner
PROMOTED VIDEO
News
i100This Instagram photo does not prove Russian army is in Ukraine
News
Kenny Ireland, pictured in 2010.
peopleActor, from House of Cards and Benidorm, was 68
News
Morrissey pictured in 2013
people
Sport
sportVan Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Environment
View from the Llanberis Track to the mountain lake Llyn
Du’r Arddu
environmentA large chunk of Mount Snowdon, in north Wales, is up for sale
Life and Style
Martha Stewart wrote an opinion column for Time magazine this week titled “Why I Love My Drone”
lifeLifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot... to take photos of her farm
News
i100
Life and Style
The director of Wall-E Andrew Stanton with Angus MacLane's Lego model
gadgetsDesign made in Pixar animator’s spare time could get retail release
News
peopleGuitarist, who played with Aerosmith, Lou Reed and Alice Cooper among others, was 71
Environment
Tyred out: should fair weather cyclists have a separate slow lane?
environmentFormer Labour minister demands 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists
News
people
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup
Save the tiger: The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

The day America’s love of backyard tigers led to a horrific bloodbath

With only six per cent of the US population of these amazing big cats held in zoos, the Zanesville incident in 2011 was inevitable
Samuel Beckett's biographer reveals secrets of the writer's time as a French Resistance spy

How Samuel Beckett became a French Resistance spy

As this year's Samuel Beckett festival opens in Enniskillen, James Knowlson, recalls how the Irish writer risked his life for liberty and narrowly escaped capture by the Gestapo
We will remember them: relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War

We will remember them

Relatives still honour those who fought in the Great War
Star Wars Episode VII is being shot on film - and now Kodak is launching a last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Kodak's last-ditch bid to keep celluloid alive

Director J J Abrams and a few digital refuseniks shoot movies on film. Simon Usborne wonders what the fuss is about
Once stilted and melodramatic, Hollywood is giving acting in video games a makeover

Acting in video games gets a makeover

David Crookes meets two of the genre's most popular voices