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Wimbledon: Roger Federer maintains future is bright after sailing through

By Tom Allnutt

Roger Federer admits the time is approaching when "everything has to be rebuilt" in men's tennis.

The established big four of Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have dominated over much of the last decade.

But Federer will turn 34 in August, Nadal is 29 and both Djokovic and Murray are 28, albeit both arguably in their prime.

Asked how the profile of the men's game could change when all four disappear from the tour, bringing a golden age of men's tennis to an end, Federer said: "I know it's going to be a bit of a change.

"Everything has to be somewhat rebuilt to some extent. Players are going to win Slams, players are going to be No 1.

"It's going to be a bit different. It depends when is Rafa going to go out, when I go out, Novak, Andy, what are they going to do in their respective careers?

"That still might be five, six, eight years. Who knows what it's going to be like.

"There are still a lot of opportunities for other players to win stuff in the meantime, let's be honest.

"Then after that, the young generation that we all talk about now is going to be in their prime. Then it's going to be new players coming up again.

"There's always going to be another story, to be quite honest. I'm not that worried.

"At the same time you need to look ahead on the political side, for the tour, what's best to make sure that events stay successful. It's something the ATP and also the Slams and everybody else has to think about."

Federer sped through his Wimbledon opener against Bosnian Damir Dzumhur, a player he also beat during the French Open last month.

The seven-time champion was never in danger as he completed a 6-1 6-3 6-3 first-round victory.

Federer spent little over an hour on Centre Court to get his campaign off to a strong start.

He was questioned about the familiar experience of playing on the main show court and whether he can sympathise with an opponent rather than be ruthless.

"It's where you want to play," Federer said.

"I was trying to think how many times I've played there now. I don't know. I know it's been often. Still, every time it feels like it's a special occasion.

"Back in the day maybe I would not be as ruthless as today. But now it's trying to focus on what I need to do."

On the prospect of going easy on an opponent, he added: "I can't mentally go there like that.

"I can't really play tennis like that, unless it's like your best friend or your brother, whatever it is.

"I've had that in some instances in the past, but not against Dzumhur, who I barely know, to be honest."

Other men's winners included French 12th seed Gilles Simon, Spanish 15th seed Feliciano Lopez, Serbian 22nd seed Victor Troicki and Holland's unseeded Robin Haase, who will face Andy Murray next.

Haase beat a young Murray in Rotterdam but has lost their three subsequent meetings, each of them coming in Grand Slam tournaments.

Belfast Telegraph


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