Normal service has resumed for Roger Federer at Wimbledon, and in some style.
The No.4 seed was stunned by Tommy Robredo in the fourth round of the 2013 US Open, but made swift amends at the same stage at The Championships with a resounding 6-1, 6-4, 6-4 victory that bore all the hallmarks of a former champion brimming with the courage of old.
“I'm confident again and not fighting with any confidence issues, which is huge in sporting terms,” said Federer, who seemed intent on clearing his desk as early as possible on Tuesday. “I'm happy I got through the first rounds here rather comfortably – I don't think I've lost my serve yet and I'm returning well. I'm in command of the points. That's where you need to be early on to then also be able to perform against the best players.”
Federer, of course, had good reason to want a quick-fire finish on Tuesday. Tomorrow he returns for a quarter-final showdown with Stan Wawrinka, his compatriot and the reigning Australian Open champion. Tonight, however, Switzerland face Argentina in the quarter-finals of the World Cup in Brazil.
“I might just watch the match while having treatment because I'm so tense,” Federer joked with reporters. “I'll loosen up at the same time, or I'll do it all afterwards, I haven't decided yet how to do it. Clearly I want to see Argentina play with Messi – they have incredible fans. Switzerland, nothing to lose, just go out there and give it a go.
“I think that's why we all watch sports: we don't know what's going to happen. I hope it's going to be one of those days where Switzerland can cause the upset.”
There was certainly no signs of a shock brewing on No.1 Court – for a while, in fact, Robredo appeared only too happy to aid Federer’s early escape. The Spaniard, through to the fourth round for the first time in 13 appearances at
The Championships, was woefully out of sorts in the first set, dropping the ball far too short and inviting pressure. A break in the second and sixth games were all Federer needed to race into a one-set lead in 21 minutes.
Having lost eight of the first nine games in the match, Robredo’s form finally picked up but he found himself facing a scintillating serving display from Federer. The Swiss did not drop a single point on either his first or second delivery and while the Spaniard did show some resistance, that early break proved decisive.
“My serve has been working well for some time now,” said Federer, who has reached the last eight without dropping serve in four matches. “I feel I'm really able to focus well and serve well throughout – I have the variation, I have the power.”
If the first set was ruthless and his second flawless, in the third Federer entered his experimental phase. Drop-shots, go-for-broke net approaches, dancing around his backhand wing to beat Robredo with a forehand – all made an appearance as the No.4 seed toyed with the Spaniard.
He broke at 3-3 and only betrayed his control over the match when Robredo briefly threatened to break back with Federer serving for the match. The moment was fleeting, the result a formality, and Federer breezed through in 94 minutes – but the 17-time Grand Slam champion expects a far tougher test against Wawrinka.
“On grass, he has a big serve and a big first strike,” Federer warned. “I try to do the same. We're not going to see that many rallies, but if we do, you just try to manage those points as well as you can, either with variation, with power, with high-risk tennis, or maybe not, depending on how well he's playing or how well I am playing.
“But what’s important is that you first focus on your own serve, and that's it,” he added. “The rest sort of takes care of itself.”
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."View all