Six Swiss SW19 Slams? Federer Looking Good For Wimbledon
Wimbledon, 6 July 2008, 21:16 GMT.
Spain's Rafael Nadal finally breaks Roger Federer's five year monopoly at the All England Championships. Up until then, Centre Court had been the Swiss star's stronghold, the place where, despite defeats on the hard courts of Australia to Novak Djokovic and on the clay of Paris to Rafael Nadal, he felt invincible.
Many foretold the beginning of the end of Federer's career, and wondered whether he would come up short in his search for greatness, stranded forever on 13 Grand Slams, one short of Pete Sampras' record. Fast forward 11 months and those who doubted have been silenced.
His first triumph at Roland Garros will probably go down as the most important victory of his career. Now standing level with Sampras and having also become only the sixth man to have won titles on every surface, he has been deservedly hailed as the best player ever to have played the sport.
But more importantly, the pressure has been lifted. Even when he spoke in interviews claiming to be happy with what he had achieved in the game, he knew more than anyone that he couldn't find true contentment until he had triumphed in Paris.
Now the world is waiting for essentially the second part of Federer's career to begin. He has potentially 5 more years at the very top level, and what he could achieve is limitless. With his main rival Nadal weighed down by injury and by the pressure that his own assault on tennis greatness is bringing, the Basler seems to be in a favourable position to reestablish himself as the dominant force in the game.
Depending on the injury prognosis from the Nadal camp, Federer could end up replacing the man from Manacor at the top of the All England Club seedings, in the process giving himself, ironically, a trickier route to the final. Standing in his way would be former champion Lleyton Hewitt, hard-hitting Dmitry Tursunov and Jose Acasuso, the Argentine who gave him problems at Roland Garros.
Of course it would not be Wimbledon without focusing on the home hopes, and there has not been such genuine optimism surrounding a British player for many years. This man is of course Andy Murray, the world number three and Britain's best post-war player.
If much of modern day sport centres of the issue of form, then Murray is currently right up there, having reached the quarter finals of the French Open and with four ATP titles to his name already this year.
The Scot will rely on the vocal home support and an injury free tournament, however with dangerous 'floaters' such as Stanislas Wawrinka, Marat Safin and his conqueror at the French Open Fernando Gonzalez potentially lying in wait, he will have to be consistent and fully concentrated.
And for those looking for an outsider to go deep into the tournament, with good recent form and a solid all-round game, German Tommy Haas could well shock a few people.
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