Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 27th 2016 Contents A55
Monday, June 27, 2016 www.guardian.co.tt Guardian
LONDON---Missing his first
Grand Slam in 17 years---the
French Open---was worth it to
Roger Federer to be fit and con-
fident for another Wimbledon.
Federer said at the All England
Club on Saturday that he had a
pinch of doubt he would miss his
first Wimbledon since 1999 when
he had to withdraw from the French
Open because of a bad back.
"If you enter, you want to feel
like you have a chance to go deep
and win, and that s why I m here,"
he said, wearing a T-shirt from his
signature clothing line that read
"SW19," Wimbledon s post code.
"This is a huge boost for me after
pulling out of Paris that I m back
at my favorite tournament. It s a
huge opportunity for me to maybe
turn around the season."
The season has been phenome-
nally frustrating for Federer.
A day after losing in the Aus-
tralian Open semifinals to Novak
Djokovic, he tore left knee cartilage
while running a bath for his kids.
He got sick in Miami, then hurt his
back in Madrid in practice. The
back bothered him for a long time
in 2013, so he dropped off the tour,
"reset," and prepared for the big
titles he had a better chance of
winning: Wimbledon, the
Olympics, and the US Open.
"This back has won me 88 titles,
and I m okay with that back," he
said. "It s okay if it messes around
with me sometimes."
He said it was more painful real-
ising what he d miss if he didn t
stop and recover properly. He
returned to play on grass this
month in Stuttgart and Halle, and
reached the semifinals at both.
Those seven matches in ten days
were "crucial to me, knowing, okay,
I passed that test, the body can
take that amount of tennis. It s real-
ly important for your mind to know,
then you can also feel you can man-
age the five-setters. All of a sudden,
you re coming into Wimbledon
with more confidence and knowing
where you re at.
"I m not thinking of the title, it s
too far away. Novak and Andy
(Murray) are the favorites. I need
to focus on getting myself into
those positions, meaning second
week, growing momentum, the
whole thing starts rolling then
hopefully. It s really important get-
ting the job done in the first week."
Federer hasn t won a title in seven
months, and won his record 17th
and last Grand Slam here four years
ago. He s lost to Djokovic in the last
two finals. His bid for an eighth
Wimbledon title starts against
Argentine leftie Guido Pella, whom
he s never met. Federer is in the
same half as Djokovic, while sec-
ond-seeded Murray is in the same
half as number four Stan Wawrin-
ka.Murray kicks off against Liam
Broady, who he will also play for
the first time. Murray, the 2013
champion, will face a countryman
at Wimbledon for the first time. "A
bit strange," was his take on it.
If it goes to seeding, Murray could
face former quarterfinalist Nick
Kyrgios in the fourth round. But
Kyrgios wasn t looking past his
opening match against good friend
Radek Stepanek, the Czech veteran
who, before the draw, offered to
help the Australian practice. The
offer has since been declined.
Garbine Muguruza, the new
women s world number two who
is seeded to meet defending cham-
pion Serena Williams in a second
straight Wimbledon final, was non-
chalant about having played only
one competitive match on grass
since beating Williams in the French
The first-round loss in the new
Mallorca WTA event in her native
Spain, came too soon straight after
Roland Garros. Besides, it was
"weird" playing on grass in Spain,
and she didn t feel like she was in
Spain because of the international
field. "But the crowd was with me,
it was cool," she said.
She felt no extra pressure as a
new major champion. "I don t feel
different," Muguruza said. "I m not
taking anything for granted. I start
like everyone else, from zero."
Williams hasn t won a Grand Slam
since Wimbledon a year ago, but
the 21-time major champion
appeared confident about her
chances of retaining the title on the
eve of the tournament.
"Honestly, I don t feel any pres-
sure," said Williams, keeping her
answers short at a pre-tournament
news conference yesterday. "I feel
good and confident."
Williams surprised many by failing
to win any of the last three Grand
She fell to Roberta Vinci of Italy
in the 2015 US Open semifinal,
Angelique Kerber of Germany in the
2016 Australian Open final and Gar-
bine Muguruza of Spain in the
French Open final earlier this month.
Instead of bemoaning those losses,
however, Williams prefers to focus
on coming back stronger.
"I think it s important to learn
from every loss that you have," she
said. "I think, in particular, through-
out my whole career (I) have been
able to learn a lot to come back a
much better player."
Williams enters Wimbledon main-
taining her number one ranking for
what will be an impressive 300th
week at the top.
Nevertheless, Muguruza, Kerber,
Agnieszka Radwanska and Simona
Halep are all positioned to oust
Williams from the top spot by the
end of Wimbledon.
Williams will play 148th-ranked
qualifier Amra Sadikovic of Switzer-
land, a player she admits knowing
nothing about, in the first round on
"It doesn t matter who I play," she
said. "It doesn t matter to me."
When she captured her sixth
Wimbledon trophy last year it
capped the second time in her career
she held all four Grand Slam titles
in a non-calendar year. She first
achieved that distinction in 2002-
"It was a great accomplishment
to win four Grand Slams in a row
twice in my career," Williams said.
"It s pretty cool. It s really awesome."
Like Williams, two-time defending
champion Novak Djokovic arrived
at Wimbledon without having played
a grass court tune-up tournament.
Where the two don t agree is in
their attitude: Williams insists she
feels no pressure to perform this
fortnight, while Djokovic believes
it s impossible to escape those expec-
"It s always present. Pressure is
part of what we do," he said. "It s
inevitable to face this kind of sen-
sation as a top player, being expected
four at least in the tournament, or
Djokovic starts his campaign for
a fourth Wimbledon trophy by taking
on British wildcard James Ward in
a first meeting between the two.
As tradition dictates, Djokovic, as
the men s defending champion, will
open the Centre Court competition.
"It s going to be the first match
on the untouched grass," Djokovic
said. "That s probably one of the
most special tennis matches that
you get to experience as a profes-
sional tennis player."
Djokovic understands the emo-
tions behind simultaneously holding
all four Grand Slam titles, which he
achieved upon winning his first
career French Open title earlier this
Last year, Williams had a chance
to win a calendar Grand Slam, but
came up short at the US Open.
This year, Djokovic remains in
contention to be the first man since
Rod Laver in 1969 to achieve a cal-
endar Grand Slam having already
won the Australian and French
Williams, for one, says Djokovic
could be the player to get the deed
"He has every opportunity to do
it," she said. "I think he ll get it easy.
So he should be fine."
That said, Williams is most inter-
ested in matches finally getting
underway at this year s edition of
"I m definitely ready to start play-
ing at this point," Williams said. "I m
kind of over practicing every day for
two hours, then going to the gym
for some time."
In this January 26 file photo, Roger Federer of
Switzerland plays a forehand return to Tomas Berdych
of the Czech Republic during their quarterfinal match
at the Australian Open tennis championships in
Melbourne, Australia. AP PHOTO
Federer out to turn around frustrating season
Serena Williams set and ready to play
Serena Williams of the US gives her
conference at The All England Lawn
Tennis Club, ahead of the
Wimbledon Tennis Championships
in London, yesterday. AP PHOTO
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