Wimbledon 2014: Roger Federer is in a good place at his favourite hunting ground

Relaxed Swiss is confident that he can land a record eighth title

Wimbledon

The statistics show a steady but unmistakeable decline in Roger Federer’s fortunes, but do not try telling that to the  32-year-old Swiss. Federer will start his 60th successive Grand Slam tournament – the longest unbroken run by a male player in the Open era – believing that he can win a record eighth Wimbledon title.

“If things click I should be able to win the tournament,” Federer said here yesterday. “This year I feel all the options are there. Return, serve, serve-and-volley, come in, my backhand – everything is working to my liking.

“For that reason, I feel I’m a bit more relaxed mentally because I know it’s there. I clearly want to do better than last year, there’s no doubt about it.”

Last year’s Wimbledon brought the most stunning defeat of Federer’s career. His second-round loss to the world No 116, Sergiy Stakhovsky, who had never beaten a top-10 player in 21 previous  attempts, ended his record run of 36 consecutive appearances in Grand Slam quarter-finals. It was also his earliest loss at the All England Club for 11 years.

Federer ran into Stakhovsky two days ago. “We always joke about the match and all that stuff, that we can only face each other in the final this year,” Federer said with a smile. “I’m totally at peace. I can accept these defeats, even though they were not fun in any way. They’re part of a tennis player’s life.”

Few players can put such reverses behind them as well as Federer is able to do. “That was done a week after Wimbledon,” he said. “After that, I didn’t need to think about it a whole lot more. It was just one of the big goals that I had set for myself. I failed. Back to work. Get yourself in shape.”

The former world No 1, who had back trouble for much of 2013, said he had not arrived here in good form 12 months ago. “I don’t know if my game was good enough to win the entire thing last year,” he said, adding that his victory in the grass-court tournament at Halle in the build-up to Wimbledon “maybe masked the problems I was playing with, the way I was playing”.

Federer’s problems continued through the summer and he said he had turned his fortunes around only after taking some important decisions. “I took a decision to change things around in terms of my exercises, my practice and my scheduling,” Federer said. “I’m happy nine months later that I am in a much better place than I was here last year.”

If this year has seen a marginal upturn in Federer’s results, with titles won in Dubai in February and at Halle last weekend, the clear trend in the biggest events in recent years has been downhill. Since the 2010 Australian Open he has played in 17 Grand Slam tournaments and won just one title, here in 2012.

In his three Grand Slam appearances since losing to Stakhovsky at Wimbledon, Federer was knocked out in the fourth round of the US Open by Tommy Robredo, in the semi-finals of the Australian Open by Rafael Nadal and in the fourth round of the French Open by Ernests Gulbis.

Nevertheless there is nothing like a return to his favourite hunting ground to put him in optimistic mood. “I feel I have a very good chance again this year,” he said. “I hope to utilise my fitness, the amount of matches I’ve played this year. So I’m really coming in with a much better feeling than maybe in the last year, for instance.”

If Federer wins it is reckoned that he will be the first father of four children to win a Grand Slam title. His wife, Mirka, gave birth to twin boys six weeks ago. The couple also have four-year-old twin daughters. The whole family are here and Federer said he had been enjoying plenty of time with them. “I’m just doing two hours’ maximum [practice] a day,” he said.

He added: “I think as you get older you appreciate everything even more. You enjoy it more because you know you might not have another 15 Wimbledons left. You’re maybe even slightly more happy to be part of this great experience every time.

“I always enjoy coming back here. It’s a pleasure being fit and eager to give it a go again.”

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Sport
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Voices
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
tv
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.

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine