Roger Federer is still on the hunt

 - Alix Ramsay

At the age of 37, the Swiss is still pretty good at winning. Can he do it again at Wimbledon?

Roger Federer smiling while waving to the crowd after his third round victory at Wimbledon 2019.© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Roger Federer knows how to win grand slam titles. We have gathered that much over the years as he has gathered 20 of the major trophies to form his own personal collection.

But the fact that he is still on the hunt for more at the age of 37-going-on-38 seems remarkable. And the fact that Rafa Nadal at 33 and Novak Djokovic at 32 are still rounding up the biggest titles in the world is something of surprise. Or it should be given there were gaggles of young men with serious talent and ambition stalking them down the walkways of Wimbledon as The Championships began.

Smooth slice from Roger Federer at Wimbledon 2019© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

“I don't know if age calms the nerves. I'm not sure.“

By the end of the second round, the Next Gen were on to the next tournament while the old guard were just settling themselves in for the long haul. That is what all three of them tend to do at this time of year in this particular neck of the woods. And the only man who did not seem at all surprised by this was Federer himself.

“The panic can set in quickly on this surface,” he said. “I think the surprises were definitely there that first day with Stefanos and Sascha and everything, Dominic.

“I do believe it's nice to have experience on this surface. I don't know if age calms the nerves. I'm not sure. 

“At the same time we know how hard it is to beat Novak, how hard it is to beat Rafa here. Me, as well. I have a great record here. We obviously also have better draws because we're seeded, and we're away from the bigger seeds earlier. Our path to the fourth round is definitely not as hard as maybe some of the younger guys on the tour, as well.”

Roger Federer fist puming at Wimbledon 2019© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT


So, in a shock revelation, Federer admits to being quite good at winning Wimbledon. That was a turn up for the book.

He proved it, too, on Saturday afternoon, removing Lucas Pouille from the draw sheet 7-5, 6-2, 7-6. Pouille tried hard, he had his chances in the first set and in the third but Federer and his blistering forehand simply would not let him take them. As third round performances went, it was the perfect way to end the first week: enough of a work out to keep him sharp but not too much of one to tire him. Win-win.

“I'm very happy how it's going so far,” he said. “I thought it was a good match with Lucas today. Of course, I hope it's going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me, not just a mediocre performance.

“I'm happy that I'm able to raise my level of play. Also there was a great run of games midway through the second, also after winning the first. I like seeing moments like that in a match for me.”

New challenge on Manic Monday

History does not record what Pouille thought of that run of five games that snatched the first set from him and left him with no way of winning the second. But it would not have mattered: Federer the eight-time champion was going through the gears and preparing himself to put the pedal to the metal in the second week. That is just the way he does things in SW19.

On Manic Monday he faces a new challenge, one he has never faced before, in the shape of Matteo Berrettini the Italian who has been finding his feet on the grass this year. The winner in Stuttgart, a semi-finalist in Halle, Berrettini is in the fourth round at Wimbledon for the first time in his life after beating Diego Schwartzman in five sets.


Astonished crowd as Roger Federer throws his headband to them at Wimbledon 2019.© Corinne Dubreuil/FFT

Nearly 38 and so what?

“I saw his run, of course, in Stuttgart,” Federer mused. “Now he's backing it up here again. That's not easy to do, especially when you're sort of newer on the tour. He played a bunch of finals at 250 levels, as well.

“I always thought that's the way to go: start winning those, going deep in those. You gain momentum, you start rolling at the bigger events. He did exactly that.”

But now he is facing Federer and as Federer told us earlier, he is pretty good at winning on Centre Court. Even if is nearly 38.