Federer to shun athletes' village in gold quest

PRITHA SARKAR
Last updated 10:18 10/07/2012
Roger Federer
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HAPPY CHAMPION: Roger Federer talks to media the day after capturing his seventh Wimbledon crown.

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A seventh Challenge Cup secured, Roger Federer was ready for a week's holiday before returning to London to complete what he hopes will be a unique Wimbledon-Olympic double triumph at the All England Club.

The moment London were awarded the Games seven years ago, Federer tapped the dates into his electronic phone diary knowing that it was a once in a lifetime opportunity to win two golden prizes in the space of four weeks at the home of lawn tennis.

Little did the then five-times grand slam champion know that come July 2012, he would have won a record 17 majors, been on top of the world rankings for a record 286 weeks and passed so many landmarks that he could open a Roger Federer library chronicling his never-ending list of achievements.

There remains, however, one missing volume. The book labelled "Roger Federer's journey to Olympic singles glory" has yet to be finished as the Swiss maestro has three attempts at writing that memoir but abandoned it each time due to the absence of a fairytale ending.

"I do believe my situation has that little star next to it. Now the Olympic gold is a dream for me," a refreshed and alert Federer told a small group of reporters on Monday despite getting only a couple of hours' sleep after beating Andy Murray to win a record-equalling seventh Wimbledon title.

"I am now the Wimbledon champion that gives me even more confidence coming to the Olympics. Maybe in some ways it takes the pressure off the Olympics because I already did win at Wimbledon this year so that's a good thing.

"Of course there is a lot of hype around me playing at the Olympics this year round. I believe I can handle the pressure but the Olympics is a different animal because you only do get an opportunity every four years.

"You hope to get the right draw, you hope to play the right matches, the right points at the right times. To win Olympic gold things need to all fall into place nicely."

So far his three Olympic experiences comprise meeting his wife Mirka at Sydney 2000, carrying the Swiss flag for the first time in the opening ceremony in Athens 2004 and winning a doubles gold medal with Stanislas Wawrinka in Beijing 2008.

All good memories, but as he is reminded so often there is that one golden singles prize still missing from his career.

FEDERER SHUNS VILLAGE

To give himself the best possible chance of correcting that anomaly, Federer has opted to shun the usual hoopla of living in the Athletes Village with thousands of international competitors.

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Instead he will stick to the tried and tested formula that has brought him so much success at the All England Club, where dozens of workmen were already replacing the familiar Wimbledon logos with giant Olympic rings on Monday.

"No (athlete's) village for me. I've done it twice," Federer said as he made himself more comfortable on an overstuffed armchair by peeling off a black leather jacket.

"I just thought it was impossible for the London Games because it's too far away (in East London). I (stayed in the village) in Athens when I was world No 1 and it was distracting, in a good way, but I just thought I've had the Olympic experience in the past.

"I've now got to do what I do best, and that's my routine and not change it just because it's the Olympics. It is a bit egotistic but you have to do it that way.

"I stayed at a hotel in Beijing, it felt a bit odd but that's how I got an Olympic (doubles) gold. And I look back at this one as one of my great, great accomplishments in my life so I'll do the same (routine) here.

"I'll rent the same house and do the same in 20 days and hopefully be successful," said Federer.

While it seemed a done deal that the 30-year-old would carry the Swiss flag into the Olympic Stadium for the opening ceremony for the third Games running, Federer said he was still undecided whether to accept the honour.

"It's been offered to me but I might give it to someone else. I'm in talks (about it). I haven't decided yet but there should be an announcement in the next 10 days," Federer said as he slipped his jacket back on over a blue checked shirt before striding out of the All England Club holding an official poster of this year's championships.

- Reuters

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