Roger Federer claimed his 15th Grand Slam title when winning Wimbledon earlier this month but he would trade that for an Olympic gold medal at London 2012, which would complete his trophy cabinet. Live-Tennis.com writer Neil Roarty gives five reasons why he thinks the Swiss maestro will achieve his dreams this summer.
1. Federer is the reigning Wimbledon champion
I have to admit that prior to Wimbledon I did not think that Federer would win The Championships but he proved himself to be by far the best player at the All England Club, beating Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray relatively comfortably. The Swiss was imperious at SW19 and only against Julien Benneteau did he look in any trouble.
His serving was as accurate as it’s ever been and the win was totally deserved. He will, therefore, head back to Wimbledon full of confidence and will be the man to beat this summer.
Roger will carry the flag for Switzerland at the opening ceremony in London and that is a responsibility that he will take very seriously. Immediately after his win at Wimbledon Federer spoke of his excitement about returning for the Olympics saying “I hope I can do my country proud.”
This was unusual from the world number one who usually speaks with such certainty ahead of major tournaments. He is clearly going to be playing for more than just himself this summer and that will make him more determined to claim the gold medal. Switzerland only won gold in two events at the last Olympics (tennis and cycling) so the hopes of a nation really do rest on Federer’s shoulders.
3. Nadal and Djokovic have had disappointing summers
Neither Rafael Nadal nor Novak Djokovic have covered themselves in glory since the French Open with the Spaniard losing to Philipp Kohlschreiber in Halle before a shock second round exit to Lukas Rosol at Wimbledon. The world number three looked exhausted after a year trying to keep pace with Djokovic and his exertions seem to have caught up with him.
Similarly, Djokovic simply didn’t look to have another level left in him when he was beaten by Federer in the semi finals at Wimbledon. The Serb’s meteoric rise has been marked by an ability to lift his game when in high pressure situations but he too looked tired out on Centre Court. A fortnight off isn’t going to dramatically change anything for either player and they will both be conscious of the upcoming US Open, which will surely be bigger goals.
4. The English weather
Wet weather can be a great leveller in Formula One but it was the opposite at Wimbledon this year with Roger Federer gaining a huge advantage when the rain fell and the roof was closed on Centre Court. This is understandable as the Swiss is the greatest indoor tennis the world has ever seen and, even in an era where Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are dominating, Federer is unbeaten in two years under covers. The weather forecast during the Olympics doesn’t make fantastic reading and it seems certain that some matches will have to be played under the roof on Centre Court. This means its advantage Federer before a ball is even struck.
5. Federer needs gold to complete his trophy cabinet
Federer has won every title there is in men’s tennis barring one – Olympic gold. The Swiss claimed gold in 2008 in men’s doubles, with Stan Wawrinka, but he has never stood atop the podium himself and that will be his motivation when he heads to Wimbledon for the London 2012 tennis competition. This will be the last chance for Federer to win an Olympic medal and it is surely not one he will want to pass up lightly.