Saturday, July 14, 2012

Roger Federer focusing on Olympic gold after Wimbledon win

Roger Federer, fresh off his record-tying seventh Wimbledon title, strolled around the tournament grounds on Monday, conducted media interviews in several languages and marveled as workers began to dismantle the familiar signage and shops to make way for London Olympics organizers, who officially took over the All England Club on Tuesday.

The Olympic tennis tournament begins July 28, and many of the world’s top players will reconvene to compete for their countries on quickly refurbished grass. It will be the fourth Olympics for Federer, who has yet to win a singles gold medal.

Like Williams, Federer is eager to win Olympic gold. He finished fourth at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, where he met his wife, Mirka, who was competing in tennis. In 2004, he entered the Athens Games as the No. 1 player in the world and heavy favorite. He was upset in the second round by 74th-ranked Tomas Berdych of Czech Republic. Four years later, in Beijing, Federer was again the favorite. He beat Berdych in the third round but was stunned in the quarterfinal by American James Blake, 6-4, 7-6 (2). Rafael Nadal went on to win the gold medal.

Federer said he isn’t sure if he’ll carry the Swiss flag in the opening ceremonies. He carried it twice, and said it might be time for another athlete to have the honor. He will not stay in the Athletes Village, choosing instead to stay in the same house he rents for Wimbledon, which is near the grounds. A house is more comfortable for Mirka and their twin daughters, who turn 3 this month.

He was asked whether the twins understood what he accomplished on Centre Court on Sunday, tying Pete Sampras’ record with seven Wimbledon titles, winning his 17th Grand Slam title and at 30 becoming the oldest Wimbledon men’s winner since Arthur Ashe in 1975.

He smiled and replied: "I don’t know about other 3-year olds, what they understand, but mine almost understand the difference between a match and a practice. So, there you go. Winning and losing? They don’t quite get that yet, which is a good thing, I think.’’

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