Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Home Sport Tennis

Wimbledon: Federer in fine fettle for battle to win back crown

By Matt Gatward

Published 05/07/2016

Grand master: Roger Federer looked in top form in his victory over Steve Johnson
Grand master: Roger Federer looked in top form in his victory over Steve Johnson

The disappearance of Djokovic has got those still standing speaking of a wide open men's draw but they may be tickling that verdict slightly if they'd watched Roger Federer dismantle Steve Johnson inside 97 minutes on Centre Court.

Federer mopped up the first two 6-2, 6-3, inside an hour, barely giving Johnson a sniff.

The Swiss then threw the 26-year-old a bone early in the third set, dropping his serve for the one and only time but broke back immediately and broke again later to take it 7-5.

Johnson is part of the coming US brigade, his fellow Statesider Sam Querry is his doubles partner but they were knocked out on Saturday, Querry having had other quarry on his mind at the weekend as he beat Djokovic in the singles.

For Johnson he is up at No. 29 in the world, his highest ever position in the rankings. This was the deepest he had been in a Grand Slam and was on a fine run having won the Nottingham Open prior to heading down to SW19. He had won only one match in his three previous visits here but had beaten Malek Jaziri, Jeremy Chardy and Grigor Dimitrov this year.

Federer, world No. 3, though, showed there is a chasm of difference between the good and the greatest.

"I'm very happy with how I played," Federer, who faces Marin Cilic in the quarter-finals tomorrow, said with a splash of understatement. "It wasn't as easy as it looked."

Federer, whose win means he has joined Martina Navratilova at the top of the tree on 306 Grand Slam wins, mixed up that lovely one-handed whipped backhand with ferocious forehands and then displayed the deftest of touches around the net with stop-volleys and drop shots aplenty - one backhand return drop shot off a Johnson second serve defied belief.

It had looked like 2016 might be the year Old Father Time finally caught up with the 34-year-old Federer: he had the first operation of his career back in February when he had his knee tidied up and he was forced to sit out the French Open due to a back problem, his first missed Grand Slam since the 1999 US Open.

But he has looked swashbuckling in SW19 so far and is yet to drop a set. His tournament is unfolding even better than he could have imagined, and with Djokovic out of the road - the Serb has beaten Federer in the last two Wimbledon finals - he must have high hopes of winning his first Slam since taking the 2012 Wimbledon crown.

Belfast Telegraph

How to Complain

If you have a complaint about the editorial content of the Belfast Telegraph or Sunday Life then contact the Editor here. If you are not satisfied with the response provided then you can contact the Independent Press Standards Organisation here

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph