Wimbledon 2013: Roger Federer expects Andy Murray to provide the greatest threat to his SW19 crown

 

Roger Federer is the defending champion, has won Wimbledon seven times and is widely regarded as the greatest player in history, but as he prepares to open his 15th All England Club campaign against Victor Hanescu on Centre Court this afternoon the 31-year-old Swiss does not see himself as the favourite. Federer said here yesterday that he regards Andy Murray as "the favourite for every tournament he goes into around the world".

Federer admitted that he had thought even before last year's Wimbledon that Murray's time had come. "I was able to fight that off," Federer said. "But I think Murray played great last year throughout Wimbledon and the Olympics, and now again at Queen's."

Although the bookmakers consider this to be Murray's best chance – he is as short as 3-1 compared with 10-1 last year – the Scot is second favourite behind Novak Djokovic, followed by Rafael Nadal and Federer.

Federer, nevertheless, expects Murray to provide his greatest challenge. "For me he seems the most natural on this surface," Federer said. "The other guys – Rafa and Novak – are Wimbledon champions and [David] Ferrer is in the top four and also very good on grass, but to me Andy stands out a little bit over the others."

The Swiss said his only surprise had been that it took Murray until last year's US Open to win his first Grand Slam. "I thought Andy was going to win a big one anyway at some point," Federer said. "He's too good to keep losing semis and finals. He's put himself too often in that position time and time again.

"His game's very good for all surfaces. He's physically superb. He plays well. He's got crowd support here. He loves the US Open, Australia. He's grown up on clay, as well. Everything seems very natural for him. He doesn't only give himself one or two chances throughout the year to win Grand Slams, but multiple ones."

He added: "In previous years, and after the time I beat him in the Australian Open final, he went on a bit of a disappointing run. That wasn't the case after Wimbledon last year. He actually got much stronger. That's why he's increased his chances now, by winning big tournaments. He did so at the Olympics, the US Open."

Federer thinks Murray will be under less pressure this year. The Swiss recalled how winning his own maiden Wimbledon title 10 years ago had lifted a weight off his shoulders. "I felt great," he recalled. "I felt like: 'Here we go. This is a great time in my life.' I achieved a lifetime dream winning a Grand Slam, winning the World Tour Finals, reaching No 1. For some reason you feel invincible, but then again you clearly have to prove it time and time again.

"How did it work for me? I won the Australian Open and then I lost early at the French, but then was able to win Wimbledon again. After that, I was able to play super consistent for a long period of time. But then again, every player reacts differently. I would think it takes pressure away. Once you win your first one, you can enjoy it a bit more and you feel like the hard work's paying off. You feel like you're doing the right things. If you keep doing that, more often than not you should come out as a winner in the matches."

 



If Federer is to win the title he might have to beat Nadal in the quarter-finals, Murray in the semi-finals and Djokovic in the final. Federer drew the short straw in Friday's draw when Nadal, the No 5 seed, was lined up to meet the Swiss in the last eight. However, Federer insisted: "The quarter-finals are still a long way away. It was never supposed to be easy winning Grand Slams. I'm ready for the challenge. I like tough draws. I don't shy away from them. Anyway, there's no control over it.

"I have a very difficult draw with Rafa being in my quarter. My focus is on the first round. If you want to win the tournament here, you have to beat the best anyway. That's what I'm here for."

Arts and Entertainment
tvGame of Thrones season 5 ep 4, review - WARNING: contains major spoiliers!
News
Tottenham legend Jimmy Greaves has defended fans use of the word 'Yid'
people
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Kanye West, performing in New York last week, has been the subject of controversy as rock's traditional headline slot at Glastonbury is lost once again
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Ridiculous Six has been produced by Adam Sandler, who also stars in it
filmNew controversy after nine Native American actors walked off set
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
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.

Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Russell Brand's interview with Ed Miliband has got everyone talking about The Trews

Everyone is talking about The Trews

Russell Brand's 'true news' videos attract millions of viewers. But today's 'Milibrand' interview introduced his resolutely amateurish style to a whole new crowd
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living