Tennis: Fed Express in no rush to break record
Published 12:00 am Monday, January 19, 2009
MELBOURNE, Australia ó Roger Federer doesn’t think he needs to be in a hurry to break Pete Sampras’ Grand Slam record.
Federer is bidding to equal Sampras’ 14 major titles by capturing the Australian Open.
The growing perception is that the 27-year-old Swiss will find it harder than in recent years to win a major, with Andy Murray joining Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic ó all 22 or under ó among the leading contenders to beat him.
“I want to do well, not only this year but many more years,” Federer said Sunday, a day before opening play against Andreas Seppi of Italy. “I don’t feel like this is my last chance to either win … or pick up a few Slams more easily.
“They never come around easily. Let’s not forget who I had to beat on the way.”
Nadal is 22 and already has five majors ó four straight at Roland Garros and the last at Wimbledon. He also snapped Federer’s record 237-week reign atop the rankings last season.
No. 3 Djokovic and No. 4 Murray will both be 22 in May. Federer was closing in on his 22nd birthday when he won Wimbledon in 2003, the first of his 13 major titles.
Federer doesn’t think age will start counting against him.
He won three of the four majors in three of the last five seasons, twice finishing one match short of a season Grand Slam by losing the French Open final to Nadal.
But he had to wait until the U.S. Open to secure his first major of last season.
“This will be tough to win,” he said. “But I know I got the game to do it.”
– Andy Roddick has won his opening match at the Australian Open, easily defeating Bjorn Rehnquist of Sweden 6-0, 6-2, 6-2.
– Fifth-seeded Ana Ivanovic has won her first-round match at the Australian Open, beating Julia Goerges of Germany 7-5, 6-3.