Federer eyes Wimbledon after clinching 18th Grand Slam title
ROGER FEDERER was as surprised to win his 18th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open as he was to clinch his first at Wimbledon in 2003.
Now the Swiss is targeting the All England Club for major triumph No.19 after he ousted old rival Rafael Nadal in five thrilling sets in Melbourne.
Federer beat Nadal 6-4 3-6 6-1 3-6 6-3 to win his fifth Australian Open title and complete an incredible comeback following six months out with injury.
Victory also means Federer climbs to 10th in the world rankings after he started the tournament 17th and with feint hopes of making the quarter-finals.
“This came as a huge, huge surprise. I guess maybe like 2003 Wimbledon, it’s totally different, but it was a big, big surprise,” Federer said.
“I thought I could probably be dangerous for a top guy, maybe beat one, and then that would probably be it, just because the body would start aching – which it did. Or my level would drop – which it didn’t.”
Even for Federer, the French Open is likely to prove out of reach given he has never enjoyed playing on clay and the surface will be particularly brutal on his body.
Nadal, the nine-time champion at Roland Garros, world No.1 Andy Murray, reigning champion Novak Djokovic and 2015 winner Stan Wawrinka will all sit higher in the pecking order.
It means the 35-year-old’s best chance of sealing his next Grand Slam success is on the grass of Centre Court this summer.
“Yeah, Wimbledon over Roland Garros, yes,” Federer said.
“On the grass I’ve got a lot of tournaments there, I play Stuttgart and Halle. So I guess Wimbledon, I know I have a better shot there. But at the French Open, if you’re not in the draw you can’t win it so I hope to be in the draw this year, not like last year.
“The US Open actually I also think I have a good chance to do well there, but let’s enjoy this one first.”
Federer will first take some time off to recover physically from his draining run at Melbourne Park, before continuing the hard-court season in Dubai, Indian Wells and Miami.
The knee injury that prompted last year’s sabbatical appears not to have resurfaced but Federer did have to put up with pain in his thigh and groin against Wawrinka and Nadal.
ICE HOCKEY Fife Flyers last night released the experienced Czech Republic-born defenceman David Turon,
The 33-year-old much-travelled, former Toronto Maple Leafs draft pick, who played 38 games for Dundee Stars last season, has scored three goals and assisted in five others in 30 outings for Fife this season.
A Flyers spokesman said: “We have been carrying an extra import recently but are now sitting at full import quota.”
Fife entertain bottom club Edinburgh Capitals on Saturday (7.15pm) and fourth-placed Nottingham Panthers on Sunday (6.30pm).
Meanwhile, Dundee Stars coach Marc Lefebvre said the 6-5 shootout win over Scottish rivals Braehead Clan on Sunday at The Dundee Ice Arena was “massive for the club”.
Stars bounced back from a 4-1 second-period deficit and the Canadian coach said: “The boys showed great character and they kept chipping away.” HOCKEY A double hat trick by Vikki Bunce saw Dundee Wanderers defeat Milne Craig Western 8-2 in the semi-final of the women’s indoor first division championship,
Wanderers’ opponents in the final will be Grove Menzieshill in an all-Tayside affair. Grove saw off Edinburgh University 4-3.
With the score poised at 2-2 midway through the second half, the turning point came with two goals in as many minutes by Grove teenager Katie Stott to give them a two-goal cushion.
Inverleith are on course for their fifth championship after seeing off Grange 7-4 in the men’s semi-final.
The game was on a knife edge at 4-4 with five minutes to go, but Derek Salmond scored to put Inverleith a goal ahead. Grange then replaced their goalkeeper with an additional outfield player to rescue the tie but it only allowed Patrick Christie to net two late on.
The other semi also went to the wire with Grove Menzieshill and Bromac Kelburne locked at 5-5 with less than two minutes left. In a dramatic finish, Kelburne defender Josh Cairns was sent to the sin bin, allowing Ross Macpherson and Ben Cromar to score for a 7-5 victory for Menzieshill.
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