Tim Henman has revealed that Roger Federer told him that his inability to win the French Open and Rafael Nadal's presence forced him out of the toughest Grand Slam in tennis. However, the former English player backed the Swiss Maestro to win a record 8th title at Wimbledon this year.
Although Federer and Nadal have undoubtedly formed the greatest rivalry of the modern tennis era, Nadal leads their overall head-to-head record 23–14. And the gulf in class is even wider on clay courts, wherein the Spaniard has got the better of the Swiss 13 times, as opposed to Federer's 2 wins.
Nadal's supremacy over Federer on clay has caused Federer to accept the fact that he is second best on the surface and this played a major part in the 35-year old's decision to skip the entire clay court season, including the recently concluded French Open as revealed by former English tennis player Tim Henman.
"He told me, I won it once in 18 tries, when at fittest and Nadal not there,' Henman revealed on Wimbledon radio.
Having skipped the entire clay court season, Federer now comes into Wimbledon which starts on Monday in imperious form after winning the warm-up tournament, the Halle Open, for a 9th time.
More importantly, Federer’s form since his return has not only vindicated his decision to skip the clay-court season, but also made him the favourite to win Wimbledon for the 8th time. And the Englishman highlighted what the title would mean for Federer saying, “The difference between seven and eight Wimbledon's is massive for Federer. With Pete Sampras and William Renshaw winning seven times, to be that person to go to eight ‑ he wants to give that his best shot. People were trying to second guess him about missing the French, I think he can play whatever schedule he wants.”
The Swiss Master opens his Wimbledon campaign against Alexandr Dolgopolov and there is a possibility of a potential semi-final clash against current World No.1. Andy Murray. Asked who the English crowd will favour in case of the showdown, Henman said, “Fifty-fifty. Four or five years ago it was more in favour of Roger, but with what Andy's achieved, the way he's matured, the way the public understand him so much better, he'll get as much support as anyone at Wimbledon.”
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