LONDON: Roger Federer insisted he can still match Pete Sampras’s record of seven Wimbledon triumphs at The Championships that commence in London today.
For almost a decade it seemed Federer was guest of honour on finals day at nearly every grand slam event but over the past 12 months Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal have conspired to strike him off the guest list. Federer feels it is time someone gate-crashed their party and winning a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon crown would be a good start.
“It’s my time of the year now,” said Federer. “I fancy my chances here. A seventh would be amazing. That would be tying Sampras which I think would be absolutely fantastic. I am dreaming of the title.”
The rivalry between the top three has electrified not just the tennis community but the whole sporting world. Over the next 42 days, not only will they will be chasing a Wimbledon crown but the number one ranking is also up for grabs.
Djokovic enjoys rivalry at top
Djokovic is a bona fide member of the top-three club now but he admitted that had it not been for the Federer-Nadal rivalry, he might not have been the player he is today.
“Their rivalry is one of the most respected in the history of our sport,” said Djokovic, who will begin the defence of his crown against Juan Carlos Ferrero today. “They’re two great champions and playing against both of them made me a better player.”
It is no wonder that Nadal, who has already bagged 11 majors, relishes the challenge of playing in this era.
“I feel very lucky to be part of these two rivalries,” said Nadal. “It’s something that brings special motivation to my game, the motivation to keep improving my tennis.”
‘Wimbledon is special for me’
Meanwhile, on the women’s side, Maria Sharapova admitted winning Wimbledon just weeks after securing her first French Open title would be the crowning glory of her career.
Sharapova captivated the All England Club as a 17-year-old who came from nowhere to beat Serena Williams in the final eight years ago and the Russian is convinced she is finally back in the right form and condition to emulate that astonishing triumph.
“I don’t know if words can really describe the feeling of winning a grand slam,” said Sharapova. “This tournament has been special for me, ever since I was a young girl. I hope I can achieve the success I had many years ago here.”
Published in The Express Tribune, 25th, 2012.
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