Wednesday, July 1, 2015

WIMBLEDON: It's all about family for Federer and Nadal

Roger Federer is looking forward to dropping off his kids at school when he retires, but the merciless form he showed in his 6-1, 6-3, 6-3 win over Damir Dzumhur in his Wimbledon first round on Tuesday suggests he will not be assuming carpooling duties anytime soon.

The Swiss world No2 needed just 67 minutes to defeat the 23-year-old Dzumhur in a clash that saw Federer face zero break points and hit 26 winners to just 12 unforced errors.

Playing in an Open Era record 67th consecutive grand slam, Federer will next take on American Sam Querrey for a place in the last 32.

Federer had beaten Dzumhur in the third round at the French Open a few weeks ago, but on his favourite hunting ground, on the grass of the All England Club, the seven-time Wimbledon champion was all the more ruthless in his delivery on Tuesday.

Asked if he ever felt sympathy for his younger and inexperienced opponent, Federer said: “I think it's also his first time on Centre Court. I'm sure in some crazy way he's also enjoying himself, can look back and say I played on Centre. It's where you want to play. So I'm more focused on what I'm trying to do, trying to win the match.

“Back in the day maybe I would not be as ruthless as today. But now it's trying to focus on what I need to do.

“For me, it's about playing the tournament, the ball that's coming from my opponent. I can't mentally go there like that. Can't really play tennis like that, unless it's like your best friend or your brother, whatever it is. I've had that in some instances, but not against Dzumhur, who I barely know, to be honest.”

After capturing his last of 17 majors three years ago at Wimbledon, many have written Federer off believing his glory days are over, especially after a poor 2013 campaign that was hampered by a back problem.

But Federer has climbed back to No2 in the world and is playing some impeccable tennis. So how much satisfaction does he draw from proving all his doubters wrong?

“Not much really. Because I play for myself and my team, my fans, my country, you name it, rather than against the people who think and have come out and said things. It's part of the game really. But they don't drive me in any way whatsoever,” said the 33-year-old.

A father of four children – two sets of twins – Federer says spending time with them would be his top priority post-retirement. “I'd like to drive the kids to school. I'd like to spend time with them, my wife, live in Switzerland. Then there's many other things I'll be doing, like my foundation. Business, we'll see. Tennis, we'll see. But those two things I know for sure,” he said.

Rafael Nadal is also a man keen to be surrounded by family. The No10 seed, who commenced his assault on a third Wimbledon crown with a convincing 6-4, 6-2, 6-4 win over Thomaz Bellucci, has been renting a larger house at Wimbledon each year in order to invite more family and friends to stay with him during the three weeks he spends in south west London for Queen’s and the Championships.

“Being in a house gives you extra peace of mind. When you’re in a house you’re not by yourself. In a hotel you’re alone. So here you are with people, I have my young cousins with me. I’m not a person who likes being alone, I like people around me so the fact that I have a house - I’ve been changing houses each year so I can invite more people to stay with me which is terrific,” explained Nadal, who next faces Dustin Brown in round two.

Nadal had lost four of his last seven matches against lefties entering yesterday’s match but he was in no trouble against the left-handed Bellucci on Court 1.

The Spaniard got the first break of the match with a signature backhand down the line passing shot to inch ahead 3-2. The world No10 broke again but he double-faulted to drop serve while serving for the opening set at 5-2. He did not falter the second time around though and was soon up a set.

Nadal broke in the first game of the second set and despite dropping serve once in the third, he managed to seal Bellucci’s fate with an inside out forehand.

“I played solid, very good with my backhand today,” said the 29-year-old Nadal. “With my forehand, always okay. But I think I can do it better. I can play more winners down the line than what I did today. But was a positive victory, without any doubt.”

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