Roger Federer is the favourite for the Olympic tennis gold on grass at Wimbledon, and Novak Djokovic has no qualms about saying so.
Though both were disappointed that defending champion Rafael Nadal had pulled out, they felt the field was quite competitive, and stressed the importance of negotiating the tricky early rounds in the best-of-three-sets format, to be able to set up a title clash as the top two seeds.
“Roger stands probably the best chance to win gold because of his career, success and history. He is the No. 1 favourite and then you have Murray (figuring in his half of the draw), myself and (Wilfried) Tsonga,” said Djokovic, who won bronze in the last edition.
Asked whether he had spoken to Nadal, Federer shot back, “I don’t think he will call me to discuss his problems. I wouldn’t do that, not that we are not close. I wish him speedy recovery.”
Federer reiterated that it was incredible to participate in the Olympics at Wimbledon.
“The importance of tennis in the Olympic Games has grown over the years and I am very happy it gets so much attention and all the players do actually show up and play because it is about the spirit and this is what we enjoy,” said Federer, who has opted out of staying in the Olympic Village to focus better on his play.
“I have become very famous over the last eight years or so. When I do move around the village, things are not as simple as they were. I want to try and perform well. I want to make Switzerland proud with a medal and for that I need to prepare accordingly,” Federer said.
Federer opted to give a chance of carrying the flag to another athlete, and was pleased that the honour went to his doubles partner in the Beijing gold campaign, Stanislas Wawrinka.
“First, I obviously hoped they would offer it to me and only later when I did accept it, I thought it was better for me to give it to someone else actually. I think it is great honour for Stan because I couldn’t have won the Olympic gold without him. That is why I think they chose the right guy,” Federer said.
The Swiss star, considered the ultimate tennis champion, said he had gained a lot from the Games, and that winning the Olympic gold in Beijing was one of the best feelings he had ever had on a tennis court.
“Honestly, the Olympic Games have taught me a lot, just seeing the other athletes practise, mixing ideas up with them, seeing them train and perform, seeing them fail and then achieve their ultimate accomplishments and dreams. I have really enjoyed every Olympics. It is very important to get that feel of the Olympic spirit,” said Federer.