(June 23, 2013) Roger Federer will open Wimbledon on Centre Court on Monday to defend his 2012 title as is tradition. The third seeded Federer faces a tough road ahead of him as he would have to most probably defeat both No. 5 Rafael Nadal and No. 2 Andy Murray just to reach the final.
“I’m ready for the challenge,” Federer said in his pre-tournament news conference. “I like tough draws. I don’t shy away from them. There’s, anyway, no control over it. All you can control as a tennis player is who you play and who you face. That’s up to the draw to decide.
“I have a very difficult draw with Rafa being in my quarter. My focus is on the first round. If you want to win the tournament here, you anyway have to beat the best. That’s what I’m here for.”
Federer is going for a record eighth Wimbledon, will face Victor Hanescu of Romania in his first round match.
At 31-years-old, Federer is coming into Wimbledon having won only one tournament on the year – last week’s grass court event in Halle, Germany, capturing the title for the sixth time.
Despite what people perceive as an apparent slowdown, Federer says that he is still a contender.
“Today I know what it takes, which is a good thing,” Federer said. “The excitement is the same. Still hungry and wanting to win and wanting to prove how good I can play. Then you want to relive those incredible moments you’ve had ten years ago, nine years ago, eight years ago, where you have that honor to play on Centre Court maybe either on opening day or on finals day. You can play for the championship. It’s really something that means the world to me.”
“So today I feel much better, a little bit better, than I did 10 years ago.”
Back in 2003 Federer captured the first of his 17 major titles at the All-England Club.
“It’s been an unbelievable 10 years. Federer said.
“I’m forever grateful to this first Wimbledon title I was able to achieve here.
“It’s all happened a bit too fast for my liking, but I’m happy I’m still playing and continuing to give myself opportunities to be contending for the title here. And being back as well 10 years later as defending champion is quite unique at the same time, so I’m very excited to be back playing.”