Monday 10 December 2018

Mannarino bidding to blot 'Picasso' Federer's copybook

 

'Mannarino, a combustible but watchable Frenchman who is the 22nd seed, suggested he will try to outplay Federer with his own brand of stylish tennis.' Photo: PA
'Mannarino, a combustible but watchable Frenchman who is the 22nd seed, suggested he will try to outplay Federer with his own brand of stylish tennis.' Photo: PA

Sam Dean

Adrian Mannarino is looking to put an end to Roger Federer's Wimbledon "artistry" as he attempts to stop the eight-time champion's remarkable run of success at SW19.

Federer has won 29 consecutive sets at the All England Club. He has yet to even face a break point at this year's tournament and takes on Mannarino today knowing that two more straight-sets victories would equal his best run of form at Wimbledon, when he won 35 consecutive sets from 2005 to '06.

Mannarino, a combustible but watchable Frenchman who is the 22nd seed, suggested he will try to outplay Federer with his own brand of stylish tennis.

"Federer is definitely an artist," Mannarino said. "If he is Picasso, maybe I am an artist too, but one that is a lot less well-known. I can't compare myself to his style - that would just be arrogant.

"Every player out there is a kind of artist and able to do some crazy things on court with their own style. Of course we know what a great player Federer is, but you can only go out and play your best."

This will be the sixth time that Mannarino has faced Federer. He has lost the previous five but impressed in their most recent meeting, in Basel last year, when he won the opening set.

"It is stupid to think you are beaten before you go out. There is no point in going out there if you think that" said the left-hander, who is grateful for the extra day's rest after a marathon five-set victory over Russia's Daniil Medvedev which took more than three hours to complete.

Mannarino's game is well suited to grass and this is the third time he has reached the fourth round here.

"I work very hard every day to be a better player and I now think I can beat these kind of players," he added. "I am definitely not thinking already I will lose. I believe I can win the match."

Federer is expecting a much more "strategic" match against Mannarino, with the winner to face either Gael Monfils or eighth seed Kevin Anderson.

Elsewhere in Federer's side of the draw, 2016 finalist Milos Raonic takes on America's Mackenzie McDonald and big-serving John Isner meets Stefanos Tsitsipas, the talented 19-year-old from Greece.

Meanwhile, the nerves will be coursing through Evgeniya Rodina's stomach as she meets Serena Williams on Centre Court - but not for the reasons you might expect.

A clash with a 23-time grand slam champion would usually be enough to trigger the pre-match jitters, as would the prospect of making your first appearance on Wimbledon's most illustrious court.

But Rodina's anxiety instead stems from events at the Aorangi Pavilion, near the All England Club's practice courts, where her five-year-old daughter will be hurtling around the Wimbledon creche.

Rodina, with a world ranking of 120, is five years ahead of Williams in the journey back to top-level tennis after childbirth, but her route has been no less arduous. (© Daily Telegraph, London).

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