Wimbledon: Federer takes on Roddick, history
WIMBLEDON, England ó A year ago, plenty of people were feeling sorry for Roger Federer.
They were sending him letters with good wishes or ó believe it or not ó tennis tips. They were offering advice about how to deal with a perceived drop in performance and ideas for how to beat Rafael Nadal.
“If you achieved a lot, like I did, for so many years, and then you don’t win some tournaments, people say, ‘Oh, you’re already on the decline,’ very quickly,” Federer said Saturday. “I hope it just opens some eyes, these last few months.”
Yes, indeed. Look at Federer now.
When he steps onto Centre Court to face No. 6-seeded Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final Sunday, Federer will be trying to collect his 15th Grand Slam singles championship, breaking a tie with Pete Sampras for the most in history.
Also at stake for Federer:
– A sixth Wimbledon title;
– A chance to become only the third man in 40 years to win the French Open and Wimbledon in the same season;
– A return to No. 1 in the rankings, a spot he ceded to Nadal 11/2 months after losing to the Spaniard in last year’s epic final at the All England Club.
“Obviously, you can’t really say enough to kind of signify what Roger’s career has been to this point,” said Roddick, who is hoping to win his second major championship.
Asked about Federer’s bid for No. 15, the American replied: “I’d love to delay it for another Grand Slam.”
Federer is playing in his seventh consecutive Wimbledon final and 20th Grand Slam final overall, both records. It’s also his 16th final in the past 17 major championships.
The only one he missed in that span was at the 2008 Australian Open, where Federer lost to eventual champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals. Federer later said he’d been recovering from mononucleosis at that time, but still, the chatter began: What’s wrong with Roger?
“Sometimes,” he said, “it’s not fair towards certain players.”