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Will there be four Federers playing at Wimbledon one day?

Roger Federer keeps a watchful eye on Centre Court.
by Mark Hodgkinson
Monday 12 May 2014

The arrival of Roger Federer's second set of twins sent the tennis world into raptures about future mixed doubles combinations. Wimbledon.com ponders on the scenario...

Would it be spoiling some of the fun – after the arrival last week of the second set of Federer twins, Leo and Lenny - to remind everyone that Wimbledon champions can’t be bred like racehorses? 

The boys' had only just arrived when one British bookmaker offered odds of 10,000 to one of Leo and Lenny, and their sisters Charlene and Myla, competing in an all-Federer mixed doubles final at the All England Club (how easily some people forget about the Agassi-Graf kids, Jaden and Jaz, and how they are supposed to have that trophy locked-down throughout the 2030s). So Roger Federer is the greatest grass-court player in history, a winner of a record-equalling seven Wimbledon titles, and his wife Mirka is a former professional player, but it’s not as simple as that. The problem with predicting future tennis dynasties, and with making big claims about tennis bloodlines, is that genetics can be messy. It's too simplistic to say that the Federer children are genetically-blessed for hitting tennis balls, and to start hyping up the mixed doubles competition at the 2037 Championships; for now, let's concern ourselves with the 2014 men's singles tournament and the possibility that Federer could win Wimbledon for an eighth time, which would give him one more title than his buddy Pete Sampras. 

It was just days after the epic 2009 Wimbledon final, when Federer defeated Andy Roddick by taking the fifth set 16-14, that Mirka gave birth to the first set of Federer twins. Federer's triumph in the summer of 2012, with victory in the final over Andy Murray, exploded the argument, advanced by some, that the Swiss couldn't win Wimbledon as a father. If Federer can win Wimbledon with two twins, he can also go through the draw as a father of four; if he doesn't go to the Champions' Dinner this summer, it will have nothing to do with Leo and Lenny. Federer's Wimbledon ambitions haven't suddenly disappeared at the bottom of a nappy bag. The last few years should have taught us that Federer is more than capable of organising his family life and his tennis life; as his agent, Tony Godsick, told the New York Times this week, the 32-year-old hasn't missed a beat in training. Godsick has since confirmed that Federer will compete at the French Open, after which he will begin his preparations for the grass courts of the All England Club.

People used to think that fatherhood would damage your tennis career, that you couldn’t be a good father and a great tennis player. If that were true, men's tennis would be a very different place. Three of the top four players in the rankings - the exception is Rafa Nadal - are already fathers or about to be. Would Stanislas Wawrinka, a father of one, have won his breakthrough Grand Slam at this year's Australian Open if being a dad was really so corrosive to your career? And what sort of dark future should we be predicting for Novak Djokovic, whose fiancée Jelena Ristic, is pregnant? The reality is that Djokovic has said he will take energy from being a dad. Federer is the same. Perhaps the addition of two more kids to the Federer tribe could even propel him to victory on Centre Court this summer. 

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20:08It brings me no pleasure but it's time to bring the curtain down for another year. Seemed somehow appropriate to leave the last word to Roger Federer. Thanks a billion for reading. What a fortnight, what a final, fast forward to 2015 please...

20:03"I already have seven. It's not like I need another one. But it would have been awfully nice to have it. I think that's what the feeling was of the people, and I felt that... I know they love tennis. They love tennis after we're all gone."

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