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Wimbledon: Roger Federer knows he has big chance of record eighth crown says Lleyton Hewitt

By Nick Purewal

Published 08/07/2016

Big opportunity: Roger Federer’s quest to add to his seven Wimbledon titles has been helped by World No.1 Novak Djokovic’s shock early exit
Big opportunity: Roger Federer’s quest to add to his seven Wimbledon titles has been helped by World No.1 Novak Djokovic’s shock early exit

Roger Federer is the biggest threat to Andy Murray's chances of claiming a second Wimbledon title this weekend, according to Lleyton Hewitt.

Federer's latest quest for a record eighth Wimbledon crown sharpens in today's semi-final clash with big-serving Canadian Milos Raonic.

The 34-year-old edged a five-set marathon with Marin Cilic to book his 11th semi-final at SW19, keeping alive the prospect of meeting Murray for the title on Sunday.

Former Wimbledon champion Hewitt believes Federer will be unable to ignore top seed Novak Djokovic's third-round exit, the closer the Swiss master edges towards a third consecutive final.

"Because it's getting towards the end of his career more, I'm sure he would sense that this is a massive opportunity for him," said Hewitt of Federer's mindset with World No.1 Djokovic eliminated.

"Especially now that the guy that's beaten him in the last two Wimbledon finals is out of the draw.

"So Roger may have a little bit more of a spring in his step.

"I think Andy Murray's still the favourite, but Roger is the main threat."

Federer has lost the previous two Wimbledon finals to Djokovic, but the Serbian's shock exit to American Sam Querrey has opened up the men's draw, especially on Federer's side.

Murray was immediately installed as tournament favourite after Djokovic's exit, but Federer remains just as committed as ever to sealing that elusive eighth Wimbledon crown.

The 2002 Wimbledon winner Hewitt hailed the depth of Federer's mental resolve, to keep excelling some 13 years after his first Grand Slam victory.

"For Federer still to be contending at his age, with how well he's played for so long as well, it's pretty amazing to watch," said Hewitt, speaking on behalf of HSBC.

"So much of that comes down to his mentality as well as physical work.

"Physically you've got to do all the right things, look after your body, do all the right things all the time.

"There's a lot more times when you're not feeling close to 100% as you get older, so you've got to push through that pain barrier.

"But mentally the stresses of travelling, having a young family, there's a lot of different priorities.

"So it's not just turning up and switching on your best tennis, you've got to do so much hard work behind the scenes and obviously playing a lot of the small tournaments as well.

"I think that's the toughest thing mentally."

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