Roger Federer, who was stunned in the Halle final last week, has insisted that Rafael Nadal would be one of the favorites to clinch the upcoming Wimbledon title. Federer also stated that he always loves participating at Wimbledon, but being the defending champion adds more pressure.
Having seen longtime rival Nadal tighten his iron-grip on the Roland Garros trophy, winning it for the 11th time this year, Federer has been determined to extend his personal dominance of Wimbledon by claiming a ninth title at the All England Club. Despite his 37th birthday fast approaching, and having been stunned by Borna Coric in the Halle final last weekend, Federer would still start Wimbledon as the overwhelming favorite to clinch a 21st major.
Federer had set new records 12 months ago when he defeated a hobbling Marin Cilic in the final, becoming both the tournament’s oldest champion and first to claim eight titles. That victory came after he decided to skip the entire claycourt season, a strategy he repeated this year as well.
“I’m really going to love going to Wimbledon but being the defending champion always creates pressure,” said Federer as quoted by Scroll.in.
Federer was quick to shrug off his loss to Coric which ended a 20-match win streak on grass. A week earlier, he had been buoyed by capturing the grass-court title at Stuttgart.
“Regardless of whether I won or lost in Halle I will be one of the favorites at Wimbledon,” he added.
Federer won his first Wimbledon and maiden Slam way back in 2003 and since then he has added seven more at the All England Club with Nadal winning twice, Novak Djokovic three times and Andy Murray securing two titles. Hardly surprising then that Federer cannot see any great upheaval anytime soon, even tipping Nadal to go deep in the tournament.
“I think Rafa is one of the big
Nadal’s Grand Slam count now stands at 17, just three behind Federer with whom he has split the last six majors. The new World Number 1 has endured a bittersweet relationship with Wimbledon despite being champion in 2008 and 2010. He missed the 2009 tournament with injury and since finishing runner-up to Djokovic in 2011, has gone out in the second round in 2012, first round in 2013 and last 16 in 2014. In 2015, he was beaten in the second round, missed 2016 while, 12 months ago, lost 15-13 in the fifth set to Luxembourg journeyman Gilles Muller in the fourth round. After winning Roland Garros this month, Nadal hinted he may skip Wimbledon and also sat out Queen’s. But the 32-year-old Spaniard has been practicing on
“I had to spend time adapting physically and in my tennis to the surface,” said Nadal. “I will certainly arrive at Wimbledon with less preparation, but I’m going with confidence high because I played very well through the whole clay-court season.”
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