Father Federer sets his sights on seventh heaven
Sunday 20 June 2010
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."
Frank Lampard was RIGHT not to celebrate Manchester City's equaliser against Chelsea
All Blacks Aaron Cruden misses New Zealand flight after drinking session, has brilliant excuse
Colombian women's cycling team kit that makes wearer appear naked is branded 'unacceptable' by UCI president
Five reasons why Louis van Gaal is a worse Manchester United manager than David Moyes
Comment: Louis Van Gaal struggled at start of Bayern reign, but Manchester United's problems run deeper and Premier League is less forgiving
- 2 Rihanna 'nude pictures' claims emerge on 4Chan as hacking scandal continues
- 3 Kim Kardashian 'nude photos' leaked on 4chan weeks after Jennifer Lawrence scandal
- 4 'F*ck it, I quit': KTVA reporter Charlo Greene quits live on air in spectacular fashion
- 5 Hitler’s former food taster reveals the horrors of the Wolf’s Lair
Scotland could still declare independence – even without referendum, says Alex Salmond
Scottish referendum results: Cross-party consensus collapses amid Tory-Labour spat on the 'English question'
Hilary Mantel 'should be investigated by police' over Margaret Thatcher assassination story, says Lord Bell
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Plebgate MP Andrew Mitchell called officer a 'little s**t', claim court documents 'exposing ex-Chief Whip's 'record of abusing police'
Archbishop of Canterbury admits doubts about existence of God