Federer: I can win Wimbledon this year
Roger Federer has fired a warning to his rivals that he is in prime condition to claim an eighth Wimbledon crown.
Dumped out in the second round last year by then 116th-ranked Sergiy Stakhovsky for his earliest exit at Wimbledon in 11 years, Federer feels he is at the peak of his powers once again after claiming his seventh Halle title last week.
"I feel I have a very good chance again this year," said Federer. "I hope to utilise my fitness, the amount of matches I've played this year. So I'm really coming in with a much better feeling than maybe in the last year.
Bookies backing another Murray-Djokovic final
- July 7, 2013: A day that will live long in the memory of tennis fans as Andy Murray ended a 77-year wait for a British winner in the Wimbledon men's tournament with a straight-sets victory over Novak Djokovic.
- And Unibet are predicting a repeat of last year's final with top seed Djokovic the favourite to lift his second title at SW19 in two weeks' time, closely followed by the defending champion.
Novak Djokovic - 7/4 fav
Andy Murray - 7/2
Rafael Nadal - 4/1
Roger Federer - 11/2
Stan Wawrinka - 16/1
Grigor Dimitrov - 20/1
Tomas Berdych - 40/1
Jo-Wilfried Tsonga - 50/1
- Click here to place a bet with Unibet
"This year I feel all the options are there. Return, serve, serve and volley, come in, my backhand - everything is working to my liking. For that reason, I feel I'm a bit more relaxed mentally because I know it is there."
Federer struggled with back issues ahead of last summer's tournament but admits his early exit still came as a shock.
"I don't know if my game was good enough to win the entire thing last year, but I knew it was good enough to go deep, semis at least, something like that," he added.
"Then maybe if the draw falls its way, maybe I could have won it. I had too many hiccups leading into Wimbledon and probably somehow I felt those.
"Plus, Stakhovsky did play well, so you've got to give him credit, as well. This year I come in not more wary or like I underestimated Stakhovsky in any way last year.
"My game, there's certain things I wanted to do, but I couldn't figure out or couldn't do it."
Federer's chances heading into Wimbledon have been boosted with question marks surrounding the form and fitness of three of his main rivals.
Rafael Nadal has been eliminated in the early stages at Wimbledon for the past two years and has again struggled to make a quick adjustment from clay to grass, losing his opening match in Halle.
Novak Djokovic, who has lost five of his last six major finals, withdrew from an exhibition match at The Boodles this week with a recurrence of a wrist injury.
Andy Murray, meanwhile, suffered a third-round exit at Queen's as he adjusts to life under new coach Amelie Mauresmo.
Murray is first up on Centre Court on Monday as he opens his Wimbledon defence against world No.104 David Goffin, but Federer is predicting he won't struggle with the pressure having ended Britain's 77-year wait for a male singles champion last summer.
"Defending champion is never an easy thing," said Federer, who starts his tournament against Paolo Lorenzi on Tuesday. "But then again, he played so well on grass the last few years.
"He was winning the Olympics, winning Wimbledon, winning Queen's last year. So he knows how it's done, and I would feel comfortable if I was Andy at this point.
"I think he's fought back nicely, bravely [from back surgery]. I think he is where he wants to be before Wimbledon, in my opinion.
"Clearly in a perfect world you don't want to have surgery, looking back one year ago.
"I still think he's good enough now to defend again; whereas maybe three to four to five months ago, honestly I wasn't sure about that.
"But now I think the way he's playing, the way he's got himself back into shape again, I think he can really believe again. That's what's most important now."