Wimbledon 2012: Roger Federer turns his mind to the Olympics and a unique double
As Roger Federer swanned into Wimbledon again on the day after the magical evening before, he could hardly have missed how the fabled green backdrop to the All-England Club was being dismantled and replaced by the mauve Olympic awnings complete with the five rings.
The magician was doubtless already thinking to himself: “And for my next trick”.
Fresh from scuppering Andy Murray's Wimbledon dream, Federer, looking scandalously fresh, dolled up in his leather jacket after his epic fortnight’s work, could not help but turn his attention to three weeks hence, when he will begin his quest to achieve the unique double of two Wimbledon triumphs in a month.
The great man makes no bones about it. Of all his great ambitions left in tennis, winning the Olympic singles title at SW19 is now a crowning one.
Indeed, after lifting his seventh Wimbledon title on Sunday, he conceded yesterday that, never mind soaring back to world No1 or equalling Pete Sampras’s seventh-heaven landmark, striking gold might just have been his main priority of the year.
So he will do everything possible to make another dream materialise. No Olympic village, he says. Just Wimbledon village. “I’ve stayed in the Olympic Village twice before. In Athens, when I was No1 it was distracting [when he got knocked out by Tomas Berdych in the second round], but in a good way I suppose.
“But I thought it would be impossible for London. So I’ll do the same as I did for this tournament, rent the same house, have the same routine and hopefully be successful.”
That includes having his family around.
The way he talked with such fondness about seeing wife Mirka with their twin daughters, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva – who will both turn three in a couple of weeks – clapping, smiling and pointing at daddy from the players’ box on Centre Court was to recognise a man in a truly contented place in his life.
“I think the dream of Mirka has been almost fulfilled by them being able to be on Centre Court watching the trophy ceremony. It’s almost too good to be true to be honest,” Federer admitted.
“In Australia when I won in 2010, it was a night session and they were still too young to be there.
"Obviously as a parent you’re always very protective but when I won in Basel last year Mirka surprised me by bringing the girls out for the trophy ceremony, which was very special.
“But this was completely different, very, very unique, because it was Wimbledon, where so many of my great victories happened, so that I felt very emotional seeing them and sharing such an intimate moment in all this craziness which was happening.”
Federer concedes that the arrival of his children has helped bring a new balance to his life and his victory on Sunday made you wonder if part of his future drive, with his daughters soon to be old enough to appreciate their father’s wonders, would be to win slams for them?
“It would be nice but it’s not my number one drive to play tennis to make sure they know who daddy was,” he said. “The legacy for them? I don’t know.
“They won’t remember – they barely remember today what happened yesterday – but one day I hope they look back and think that was a good thing we did.”
You can bank on it. Asked, in the light of all the whispers about his supposed decline after 2½ years without winning a slam, whether this might just have been his greatest achievement of all, Federer mused: “Maybe. It definitely has a special place in my heart.”
This, said Federer, was on a par with the triumphs such as the 2009 French Openn, which saw him complete his slam of slams on every surface. Then there was the conquering of Andre Agassi in the 2005 US Open and equalling Bjorn Borg’s five Wimbledons with his
five-set epic win over Rafael Nadal two years later.
But a Wimbledon double in the Olympics would be a once-in-a-lifetime feat.
Played over three rather than five sets (apart from the final), he suspects, the event will be much more of a lottery and thus more difficult to win.
If the past fortnight had been played under the same format as the Games, he would have been knocked out early on in straight sets by Julien Benneteau.
“I just hope I can do well here at the Olympics in 20 days time, enjoy myself again and savour the unique experience playing at the club,” Federer said. “I hope I can make my country proud.” Doesn’t he always?