Federer backs himself as favourite for ‘Big W’June 23rd, 2008 - 2:33 pm ICT by IANS
Wimbledon, June 23 (IANS) Roger Federer has maintained a low profile alright, but still considers himself a big favourite for a sixth Wimbledon title, that will take him past the record of five titles by Bjorn Borg, who curiously ranked the Swiss player only No. 3 in his list recently. Many former stars, including Borg and Pete Sampras, feel Federer is most vulnerable at Wimbledon this year. But the Swiss is unaware of all these and said: “Well, I didn’t hear. I didn’t read the press. I didn’t talk to you guys. I didn’t read you guys. So, I mean, people say different things. I don’t know. I feel like I’m the big favourite obviously for Wimbledon.
“It’s a huge year for me, you know, going for my sixth. Getting the fifth one was a dream come true already. It’s something that’s going to be very hard to match, I think, in the future, in the years to come.”
“It’s taken I don’t know how many years for me to be able to match Borg’s record. I hope I can also match Pete’s record of seven Wimbledons here. That’s what my focus is. What other people and players say I cannot control, you know.”
Federer, who feels his game is as good as last year, feels he is up to the task of adding one more Wimbledon title.
Addressing a crowded pre-tournament press conference, Federer when queried on his game and comparing it with last year, said: “Well, now it’s better again. Maybe at the beginning of the year, like I said, I felt a little slow. Just felt a little bit rattled due to the sickness I had. But today I feel as good again as last year. You know, one year has gone by. I’ve played plenty of matches. I feel like I’m playing well, which is good.”
On the competition last year and this year, he added: “Well, the same players are right up there. Novak and Rafa obviously are the guys who are the biggest challengers. You know, they’ve also had a good beginning to the year. I think particularly Rafa, you know, who’s had the best start ever to his whole campaign, you know, by doing the same things he’s always done during the clay court season, and the rest of the year he’s been very consistent.
“I think the same guys are also the favourites again for Wimbledon this year. You know, with Baghdatis, Hewitt, Murray, Roddick, you know, Nalbandian, all these guys. There hasn’t been that much of a change actually.”
On his one-sided French Open defeat, Federer did not duck and answered: “You know, it’s almost easier to forget a loss like that than, let’s say, the Rome finals I lost against Rafa with two match points down. Took me much longer to sort of digest. The French was over in such a hurry. I mean, the French Open, as the whole clay court season was over at the same time, so it’s easy just to look forward and concentrate on grass. I won’t be on clay for 10 months, so it really hasn’t been a problem, you know. I’m happy I haven’t been affected by it.”
On whether a win this year will be his greatest, he thought and replied: “Well, I’m not sure. You know, I mean, first one is always the most unique one, I guess. On top of that, it was my first Grand Slam victory. I guess the one last year was very meaningful to me, you know, in the circumstances, playing Rafa in a five-setter at Wimbledon. It’s hard to top that one. But never know what’s going to happen this year. So maybe this one will be even better. Who knows.”