Roger Federer has won only one Grand Slam tournament in the last five years but the seven-times All England Club champion was in confident mood here. Federer said he had never had a better preparation for Wimbledon and believed he was playing better than he was 12 months ago, when he lost to Novak Djokovic in the final.
Federer warmed up for Wimbledon in traditional fashion by winning the grass-court tournament in Halle last weekend, but he said the extra week inserted this year between the French Open and Wimbledon had been of particular benefit.
“It’s probably been the best preparation I’ve ever had for Wimbledon, for obvious reasons, because we have a week more on the grass,” Federer said. “I’m sure I’m not the only one saying that this year. I’m sure everybody will say the same.
“It’s changed everything, to be honest. You might think that a week is not a lot, but a week is so much for us players. Obviously that week we have now, we have [one week] less after Wimbledon, so let’s talk about the positives right here because the body might feel it after Wimbledon.
“The good thing is you can heal problems you might have carried over from the French rather than take chances right away running on to the grass, or not playing a warm-up event. Wimbledon comes around very quickly. You come into the tournament with many more doubts. [This year] I could rest and relax and then really train and prepare properly for a change for a good grass-court season.”
The victory in Halle was Federer’s eighth in the tournament. “Winning Halle has given me the extra confidence I guess it’s going to take me to win this title here,” he said. “I’ve been playing well for a year now. It’s been a good last week and it was in Halle as well. Practice has been good and the body’s fine, too.
“I was able to go early to Halle, train a lot, rest again. Same here. I arrived two days after the final [in Halle]. I trained for three days and took today off.
“I can totally pace myself, which is huge in an athlete’s career and life.”
Federer, who will be playing in his 63rd consecutive Grand Slam tournament, said he had not felt he was playing his best tennis here last year, despite reaching the final. He was still rebuilding his game following his back problems of the previous year and was getting accustomed to working with a new member of his coaching team, Stefan Edberg, as well a new racket.
“This year I feel my game is better,” he said. “I’ve got used to the racket. This is not the first time I’m at Wimbledon with Stefan Edberg. The work I’ve put in with Severin [Luthi], my coach, I could aim for Wimbledon this year, whereas last year it was all about getting back.”