For Roger Federer and his fellow top tennis players taking the title at Wimbledon this year isn’t enough, they each have their eye on winning Olympic gold on the grass courts of the All England Tennis Club next month.
Federer especially is looking forward to adding a medal in Singles tennis to his already impressive record of six wins at Wimbledon, particularly since the 2012 London Olympics may be his last chance to do so. Carrying the Swiss flag at the opening ceremony of the games, Federer described the unique combination of Olympic tennis at Wimbledon this year as “a beautiful thing” and “a once in a lifetime opportunity”.
This is only the second time in the history of the games that Wimbledon has been the host of an Olympic tennis tournament, which this year will also include mixed doubles events for the first time since 1924. All of the players at Wimbledon presently are aware of just how special the tennis events will be this year, and Federer’s eloquent thoughts on winning an Olympic gold at Wimbledon are no doubt shared by all the other players who have been confirmed for the competition.
The Swiss tennis ace has competed in a total of four Olympic tournaments throughout his career, a feat which he himself admits is unlikely to be equalled – “this is my fourth time. I don’t think there’s another player in singles who has played four in this era”. Already holding an Olympic gold medal for doubles in the 2008 Beijing games, gold in singles will be the ultimate achievement for the man who many consider to be the greatest tennis player of the open era. However the three-set format of the Olympic tournament carries with it greater risk of surprise knockouts than the five-set Grand Slam rules that Federer is used to playing under –“That is very dangerous. Who knows then who is in good shape and who is not.”
Joining Federer in eager anticipate of the Games is fellow Big Four member Novak Djokovic, who has described winning at the Olympics as one of his “biggest priorities this year”. Rafa Nadal is currently undergoing rehab and recovery to ensure that he is fit and well enough to lead the Spanish tennis team into the tournament, and Russia’s Maria Sharapova is looking forward to her first appearance at an Olympic event – “For me, the Olympics are huge….it’s something I really want to experience in London.”