Roger Federer Eyes More History At Wimbledon On 10th Anniversary Of Epic Loss - UBITENNIS
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Roger Federer Eyes More History At Wimbledon On 10th Anniversary Of Epic Loss

Despite a record eight Wimbledon titles, the world No.2 has also suffered heartbreak at the tournament.

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Roger Federer (zimbio.com)

A decade seems like a long time ago, but it is hard for Roger Federer to forget the final of the Wimbledon Championships that year.

The Swiss superstar was the top seed in the tournament, bidding to win the men’s title for the sixth year in a row. Something that had only ever been achieved by Great Britain’s William Renshaw during the 1890s. His opponent in the final was the king of clay Rafael Nadal. During a match marred by the poor weather, Federer was just two points away from claiming the title. Only to be denied by Nadal, who broke in the 15th game of the deciding set to close the match out 9-7 after four hours and 50 minutes of pulsating action.

“I think it was one of the hardest losses I ever had, no doubt about it. I was so close to making it six in a row.” Federer said during his press conference on Sunday.
“The initial reaction was, Okay, got to win it again next year, ’09, and I did, in an epic one against Roddick. That was beautiful after the heartbreak in ’08.

“It was a great match for many reasons. It also made me more human potentially, the loss under the circumstances. But it was a great match to be part of.”

Many still regard that match as the greatest in the Federer-Nadal rivalry. The two have locked horns 38 times on the tour with Nadal leading their head-to-head 23-15. The 2008 final was a roller coaster of emotion for both men. Although the 36-year-old admits that he tries to forget about the loss.

“I think for me it was one of the matches I tried to sort of forget a little bit. I remember it being dark. I remember the passing shot down the line. I remember the things I said pretty much vaguely. I hardly remember there were rain delays, to be honest.” He reflected.
“Funny enough, I think once that match was over, all you remember is certain things, and you sort of need to move on.”

Back on Centre Court

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Fast forward 10 years and the draw is identical. Once again, Federer is the top seed ahead of Nadal. Placing the two on a collision course for the final. Although Nadal’s recent record at The All-England Club has been far from spectacular. He last reached the quarter-finals of the tournament in 2012. Since then, Nadal has only won back-to-back matches at Wimbledon on two out of five occasions. Not counting 2016 when he withdrew due to a left wrist injury.

“I think Rafa is one of the big favourites,” Federer said shortly after his loss to Borna Coric in Halle.
“When Rafa is healthy, anything is possible for him.”

On Monday Federer opens up his campaign on Centre Court in what is becoming something of an unofficial tradition. It is the eighth year that Federer has played his opening match on the premier court. This time round he takes on Dusan Lajovic. A 28-year-old Serbian who has defeated Juan Martin del Potro and took Alexander Zverev to five sets earlier this year. However, both of those occasions were on the clay.

“If I think of tomorrow (Monday), I think it remains a little bit nerve-wracking in all honesty.” The world No.2 said about playing on Centre Court.
“It’s a big deal. I mean, besides the history and the mythical place that it is, you cannot also practice on it. When you come out, there’s a bit of uncertainty for both players, from a very quiet week and site that we’ve seen this week, it’s just packed everywhere. The entire atmosphere changes at Wimbledon, and you realize the eyes are on you. That naturally makes you a bit nervous I believe.”

Heading into this year’s championship, Federer has won 91 out of 102 matches played at Wimbledon. Since 2003, he has only failed to reach the second week once back in 2013.

Federer is scheduled to start his match at 13:00 GMT on Monday. He is bidding to become the first male player in history to win a ninth Wimbledon title in singles competition.

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Wrist Injury Threatening To End Holger Rune’s Olympic Dream

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Holger Rune will have a second medical opinion on Monday before deciding if he is fit enough to play at the Olympic Games, according to his team. 

The Danish world No.17 recently retired from his quarter-final match at the Hamburg Open due to a knee injury. The hope at the time was that his withdrawal would be just a precautionary measure ahead of the Olympics. However, he is also dealing with a second issue that appears to be more serious.

According to TV 2 Sport, Rune has been struggling with a wrist issue and underwent a scan on Sunday which his mother Aneke says ‘doesn’t look promising.’ Aneke is also the manager of her son’s career. Rune’s Olympic dreams now rest on the outcome of a second medical expert that he will visit tomorrow who has a better understanding of the sport. 

“Unfortunately, it does not look promising after the first medical opinion after the review of the scan of the wrist,” Aneke Rune told TV 2 Sport.

“We are waiting for two tennis-specific doctors who will give a second opinion tomorrow (Monday). Tennis wrists look different from regular wrists, so we’ll hold out hope for one more day.” 

Rune is one of three Danish players entered into the Olympic tennis event along with Caroline Wozniacki and Clara Tauson. The country has only won one medal in tennis before which was at the 1912 Games when Sofie Castenschiold won silver in the women’s indoor singles event. 

So far this season, the 21-year-old has won 27 matches on the Tour but is yet to claim a title. He reached the final of the Brisbane International and then the semi-finals of three more events. In the Grand Slams, he made it to the fourth round of the French Open and Wimbledon. 

It is not known when a final decision regarding Rune’s participation in Paris will be made.

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Hubert Hurkacz Undergoes ‘Knee Procedure’ Ahead of Olympic Bid

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Poland’s top player on the ATP Tour is not giving up on his dream of winning a medal at the Olympic Games despite recently undergoing a medical procedure.

World No.7 Hubert Hurkacz suffered a knee injury during his second round clash at Wimbledon against France’s Arthur Fils. In the fourth set tiebreak of their clash, Hurkacz dived for a shot but landed badly on his knee and required on-court medical attention. He then played two more points before retiring from the match. 

In a social media post published on Wednesday, the  27-year-old confirmed he underwent a procedure on his knee earlier this week but didn’t provide any further details.  Although Hurkacz has stated his intention to play at the upcoming Olympic Games in Paris, where the tennis event will be held on the clay at Roland Garros. 

“I had a knee procedure this Monday, but I’m feeling better already and my team and are dedicating extensive time each day to the rehab process.” He wrote on Instagram. 

“It’s a dream for every athlete to represent their country at the Olympics, and I want to make sure I am fully fit and ready before making the final decision to step on court. The aim is not only to participate, but to win a medal for my country.”

So far this season Hurkacz has won 34 out of 48 matches played on the Tour. He won the Estoril Open in April and was runner-up to Jannik Sinner in Halle. 

The Olympic tennis event is scheduled to begin a week Saturday on July 27th. Poland is yet to win a medal in the event but expectations are high with women’s No.1 Iga Swiatek also taking part. 

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Krejcikova Comes Alive With Her Serve To Win 12th Grand Slam Title At Wimbledon

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image via x.com/wimbledon

It must have seemed like the whole world was against her when Barbora Krejcikova served for the match for a third time against crowd favorite Jasmine Paolini.

But Krejcikova was only going for her 12th Grand Slam title. She was well prepared.

So, she released her patented way-out-wide serve to the smallish Paolini’s backhand, and the best the Italian could do was get her racket on the ball enough to return the serve far off the court, long and wide.

ARMS UP FOR A CHAMPION

The weight of the world was gone as Krejcikova threw her arms over her head and calmly walked to the net to greet the Wimbledon runner-up.

Now, Krejcikova was half-way home to a career Grand Slam in singles. She already owns a career Grand Slam in doubles among her dozen Grand Slam titles that also include one mixed doubles Grand Slam title.

She has won the hard ones, the French Open on clay and Wimbledon on grass.

At 28 years old, anything must look possible to this 5-10 Czech.

KREJCIKOVA COMES THROUGH UNDER PRESSURE

Paolini simply was out played in a second straight Grand Slam final, on clay and on grass. Now she faces the real tests, two straight Grand Slam tournaments on hard surfaces that might not be overly friendly to the 5-4 Paolini.

But there it was, a 6-2, 2-6, 6-4 victory for Krejcikova on Wimbledon’s famed Center Court.

After what might be called a throw-away second set for Krejcikova, she came alive in the third set, pinning Paolini to the deep corners while nailing low hard-hit balls to both corners.

Krejcikova got off to 40-0 starts on her first four service games of the decisive set and ended all four with service winners to take a 5-3 lead (with the aid of the only service break of the third set). She yielded only one point in those four service games, a double fault at 40-0 that was followed by an ace.

Of course, it was the serve again that saved the day for Krejcikova and gave her set points two and three, then sealed the deal for a spot in Wimbledon history.

James Beck was the 2003 winner of the USTA National Media Award  for print media. A 1995 MBA graduate of The Citadel, he can be reached at Jamesbecktennis@gmail.com. 

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