from ATP World Tour.com
With a four-set win over Sam Groth in the third round, Roger Federer is well-positioned to challenge for his eighth Wimbledon title. Going all the way at the All England Club this year would lift him out of a tie with friend and role model Pete Sampras, the man whom Federer has been compared to ever since the Swiss first announced himself to the world with a dramatic 7-6, 5-7, 6-4, 6-7, 7-5 victory over the American in the fourth round of the 2001 tournament.
Sampras, with seven Wimbledon crowns to his name, casts a long shadow at the All England Club, but Federer could find himself in uncharted territory with four more wins this fortnight. For the World No. 2, the thrill of chasing down a legend has been superseded by the love of competition and the feeling of privilege for being able to set foot on tennis’ grandest stage.
“It used to be more about trying to equal Pete,” Federer replied when asked about his motivations for the title. “[In the past] there was a lot more focus about equaling those records. It’s something to talk about for a couple weeks. Then you have to wait a year if you don't do it.
“[Now] I just take Wimbledon as such, for what a huge tournament it is, what an opportunity it is. Of course, I would like to relive those moments I have done so many times here.”
To help himself recapture the winning feeling, Federer has enlisted the help of childhood idol Stefan Edberg, another player who has attained legendary status on the grass of Wimbledon. In Federer’s words, the Swede’s continued guidance has helped him gain a second wind on his favorite surface.
“I'm coming into Wimbledon quite sure about my game. I've played three matches now, no breaks faced, it's great. Halle was more all over the place in the beginning. Now I'm in a more solid place potentially,” Federer added. “I'm more comfortable [now] around Stefan. When you spend time with someone you've looked up to your entire life, it's a bit awkward in the beginning. You're not quite sure what you're allowed to ask, what you're allowed to say, all these things. I think those fears are somewhat gone, even though every time he steps into the house, I'm like I can't believe it quite still, so it's very cool.
“But clearly I feel more comfortable. He knows especially the routines much better. He knows all the tournaments, again, because he hasn't been to so many tournaments for so many years. I had to show him around a little bit. ‘This is a locker room, this is a practice court again.’ It's actually been quite fun showing him again how it's done,” joked Federer.
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