Roger Federer sights focused on ninth Wimbledon title

The Swiss maestro is still after more titles and Grand Slams. (AFP)
Updated 08 February 2019

Roger Federer sights focused on ninth Wimbledon title

  • 20-time Grand Slam star still hungry for more glory.
  • Fed-Express targets Wimbledon and US Open titles.

GENEVA: Shaking off his defeat in the Australian Open Roger Federer claimed he is “motivated and looking forward to the future” with a tilt at a ninth Wimbledon title uppermost in his mind.
After his last 16 loss to Greek young gun Stefanos Tsitsipas in Melbourne last month, the Swiss 20-time Grand Slam champion was quick to brush aside suggestions it was the beginning of the end.
In Geneva on Friday to launch the third edition of the Laver Cup, Federer mapped out his goals for the season with the hunger of a man carrying half his 37 years.
“Wimbledon obviously, also now Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami,” he said.
“I really would like to make a good season start, maybe that could launch the clay season and Wimbledon but I think Wimbledon yes, the US Open and after also the Laver Cup and the World Tour Finals at the end of the year.”
He said his failure to defend his Australian Open title changed nothing and his aim was the same as always — to beat Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.
“I continue my career...I’m motivated, I feel good and I’m looking forward to the future.
“The goal is always to have a level of play high enough to beat Rafa and Djoko and as soon as it is so high so you can play against them and maybe win, that means that the classification will normally follow.”
Djokovic, who dispatched Nadal in two sets to win in Melbourne, tops the rankings from Nadal with Federer slipping from third to sixth.
“For me, the classification at 37 years is not anymore the priority,” shrugged the Swiss great.
For the September 20-22 Laver Cup, Bjorn Borg captains Europe with John McEnroe in charge of Team World.
Federer is hoping his compatriot Stan Wawrinka plays.
“We won the Olympic title together (in Beijing, 2008). With a bit of luck we can be reunited again in Geneva.”


Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster

Updated 22 August 2019

Serena Williams, Maria Sharapova to clash in US Open first round blockbuster

  • Williams has dominated the Russian star in their head-to-head rivalry
  • Sharapova advanced by walkover against Williams in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year

NEW YORK: Serena Williams will begin her quest for a seventh US Open title and record-tying 24th Grand Slam victory against long-time rival Maria Sharapova in the US Open women’s singles draw unveiled Thursday.
Williams has dominated the Russian star in their head-to-head rivalry, winning 19 times with only two defeats, including their past 18 meetings, most recently at the 2016 Australian Open quarter-finals, although Sharapova advanced by walkover against Williams in the fourth round at Roland Garros last year.
Eighth-ranked Williams is looking to match the all-time record of 24 Grand Slam singles titles won by Margaret Court when the year’s final major championship gets under way Monday.
The 37-year-old American has dropped her past three Grand Slam finals appearances, including last month to Simona Halep at Wimbledon and last year to Japan’s Naomi Osaka at the US Open after a controversial game penalty for her tirade at umpire Carlos Ramos.
Tournament officials have said Ramos will not work any matches involving Serena or Venus Williams, who could not face her sister until the semifinals, being in the same draw quarter as Czech third seed Karolina Pliskova.
Serena was placed into the same quarter as Australian second seed Ashleigh Barty, the reigning French Open champion whose first match is against 77th-ranked Zarina Diyas of Kazakhstan.
Top-seeded Osaka opens against Russia’s 93rd-ranked Anna Blinkova and could face a third-round date against 15-year-old American Coco Gauff, who eliminated Venus Williams in the first round at Wimbledon in a run to the last 16 in her Grand Slam debut.
Romania’s fourth-seeded Halep, coming off her second Grand Slam title, opens against a qualifier and could face a semifinal against Osaka, who defends a Slam crown for the first time.
“I’m looking forward to the experience,” Osaka said. “Everyone knows I love it here.”
Osaka retired in the third set of a quarter-final match at Cincinnati with a left knee injury but said Thursday she expects no problems with playing at the US Open.
“It’s geting better. I’m a fast healer,” Osaka said. “I’m here and I feel like I’ll be able to play.”
Osaka said while she might watch players who are unfamiliar, she isn’t one to analyze the draw beyond her next opponent.
“I like to know what that one person I’m playing is,” she said. “I like to focus my attention on that one.”
Pliskova, who lost her only Grand Slam final to Germany’s Angelique Kerber at the 2016 US Open, plays her first match against a qualifier.
Venus Williams, 39, won the 2000 and 2001 US Opens but hasn’t won a Slam since her fifth Wimbledon title in 2008. She opens against China’s Zheng Saisai and could meet fifth seed Elina Svitolina of Ukraine in the second round.