Philippine Daily Inquirer
15 YEARS AFTER FIRST MAJOR, FEDERER STILL AT IT
LONDON— Go back 15 years, to the start of Wimbledon in June 2003, and take a glimpse at where things stood for Roger Federer.
He was 21. He had yet to reach No. 1 in the world rankings. Not only had the guy never won a Grand Slam tournament, he’d never even been past the quarterfinals at one. He was coming off a first-round loss at the French Open a month earlier, and another at the All England Club a year earlier.
When all was said and done two weeks later, Federer was crying, cradling the champion’s gold trophy.
And now? When play begins at Wimbledon on Monday, with Federer closing in on his 37th birthday, he will have the honor of playing the first match at Centre Court as the defending champion.
He earned his record eighth title at the grasscourt major a year ago, and he ran his total Grand Slam haul to a record 20 men’s singles trophies by winning the Australian Open in January.
“I don’t know how much longer it’s going to last,” Fed- erer said. “I would hope that I’m a better player today, just because of the virtue of time that’s gone by.”
He begins his quest for a record-extending ninth title with a first-round clash against Serbian world No. 57 Dusan Lajovic.
As of now, rival Rafael Nadal is No. 1, and Federer No. 2—but just barely, with a 50-point gap between them. Because Wimbledon’s seeding system takes into account the men’s success on grass, Federer is No. 1 and Nadal No. 2. This is the fifth time that they are seeded 1-2, and first since 2010.