Federer sets sights on Olympics

Mon, Jul 9, 2012, 01:00

Tennis: Roger Federer hopes winning Wimbledon for a record-tying seventh time can be the catalyst for the most successful summer of his career. He headed away for a short holiday today with wife Mirka and their twin daughters, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, but will next week be hitting the practice courts to prepare for the Olympics.

The US Open follows three weeks after London 2012 and, having banished a two-and-half-year barren run in grand slams, Federer is looking to replenish the trophy cabinet.

The mere fact the Olympics are being held at Wimbledon has in recent years been a source of inspiration to the 30-year-old from Switzerland, who, despite having a doubles gold medal, has surprisingly not had a podium placing in the singles after three attempts.

Federer will be back at Wimbledon in Swiss colours in under three weeks’ time aiming to put that right, and London 2012 entered his mind immediately after finishing off Andy Murray in four sets yesterday.

“At first you think, let’s start the Olympics tomorrow,” Federer said. “But then you realise that you need to come down and need to recover. My physiotherapist travels with me for 90 days a year. I told him that we must make sure everything is possible, so I can play at my best at Wimbledon, the Olympics and the US Open.

“The start has worked out perfectly, and clearly such a victory brings me much motivation and satisfaction.”

Now level with his childhood hero Pete Sampras and William Renshaw, whose seven Wimbledon titles came in the 1880s, Federer’s mid-season report on the state of his game suggests few problems. He is back to number one in the world rankings for the first time since the 2010 French Open and will have a record-setting 287th week at the top next week.

Asked whether he feels a better player now than he was at 25, an age when he was practically unbeatable, Federer answered: “I hope so. God, I’ve practised so much that I don’t want to be worse five years later. “I feel I have a great game today. But then again, maybe there were times I had such incredible confidence that you do pull triggers and you pull off shots that maybe today I don’t.

“I know how hard it is to pull off those great shots and I know how easy it is to miss, so I’m more aware of these things. But I’m so happy I’m at the age I am right now, because I had such a great run and I know there’s still more possible.

“To enjoy it right now, it’s very different than when I was 20 or 25. I’m at a much more stable place in my life. I wouldn’t want anything to change.”

Yesterday’s triumph was made all the more enjoyable for Federer by the fact his two-year-old daughters were on hand for the first time to watch him land a grand slam. There was high praise for Federer from an emotional Murray, who has now lost his first four grand slam finals, three to the man from Basle.

Murray likened Federer to Brazilian football great Pele. “It’s nice to be compared to other sporting greats,” Federer said. “I want to leave the game better off than when I came into this great game, which was already unbelievable with the great rivalries we had: Becker-Edberg, Courier and Agassi and Sampras.

“I drew a lot of inspirations from other great athletes in other sports. Maybe (Michael) Jordan, Tiger Woods, Valentino Rossi. They inspire me to keep on pushing further, not just being happy with world number one or being happy with a grand slam title, but maybe to reach for more.

“Obviously I have to drive myself. But you sometimes do need to see someone else do it for a long time so that you feel it is actually possible.”

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