Federer still the man to beat on grass


Federer still the man to beat on grass
This year's Wimbledon preparation has been smooth for Roger Federer. The Swiss won his 10th title at Halle. (AFP)

London - Victory at Wimbledon would consolidate his position as oldest male champion

By Reuters

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Published: Tue 25 Jun 2019, 11:09 PM

Last updated: Wed 26 Jun 2019, 1:12 AM

Historically, emotionally and statistically, Roger Federer remains the man to beat at Wimbledon even at the 21st time of asking.
Forget the creaking knees and advancing years - the Swiss will be 38 in August - not many in SW19 will bet against their adopted favourite achieving Wimbledon history with a ninth men's title to equal Martina Navratilova's record singles mark.
Victory would consolidate his position as oldest male champion, a record he set in 2017 when he won his eighth title without dropping a set at the age of 35 years and 342 days.
Federer's cheerleaders will point to the confidence gleaned from 2019 tournament wins on the hard courts of Dubai - his 100th ATP title - and Miami.
This year's Wimbledon lead-up has been wrinkle-free after a positive showing at the French Open, where he lost in the semifinals to Rafa Nadal, and his traditional grass tune-up at last week's Halle Open, where he triumphed for the 10th time.
Nick Kyrgios last week predicted it will "be hard to beat" Federer on his favourite surface. Former French Open finalist Alex Corretja is another who has flagged up Federer.
"Federer played a great claycourt season, which gives him the belief he can win Wimbledon again," said the Spaniard.
Grass has always suited Federer's aggressive style, which is based on footwork, pace and ability to find sharp angles.
Perhaps the only remaining question is whether the Swiss has the stamina to slug it out against the game's young guns.
As always the aim remains to win but now it is to do so without expending too much energy.
Last year there were signs that the balance is more difficult to achieve and the eight-times champion squandered match points against Kevin Anderson before exiting in the quarterfinals.
Despite Anderson's raw power, few at Wimbledon expected Federer to lose that day.
All that can be said with certainty is that should anyone beat the man who has already pocketed $124 million in prize money, he should consider himself champion in waiting.

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