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By Richard Pagliaro | Saturday, June 26, 2021

Roger Federer makes his Wimbledon return pumped to realize a main mission: play first-rate tennis to make a second-week run.

Eight-time Wimbledon champion Federer has spent time practicing with two-time Wimbledon winner Andy Murray and Dan Evans and sounded relaxed and refreshed meeting with the media in his pre-tournament Wimbledon press conference today. The sixth-seeded Swiss calls a second-week run "very much possible."

Evert: Federer Faces Monumental Task

"I think I got to take the positives out of these last few weeks that I'm actually here at Wimbledon right now and I have a chance," Federer said. "I know if I get rolling, I get into the second week, which is the goal here right now, that I get stronger and stronger as every match goes by, I believe it's very much possible.

"I come here feeling mentally strong rather with the last set I played in Halle, which was clearly not the standard I like."


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Advancing age, lack of recent match play and Federer's admission he felt frustrated and suffered concentration lapses in the third set of his Halle loss to Felix Auger-Aliassime are among the challenges the 2019 Wimbledon finalist faces at SW19.

The 39-year-old Swiss, who resides on the bottom half of the draw opposite world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, opens against French left-hander Adrian Mannarino. Federer, who has a manageable draw, would face his first seeded opponent in a third-round clash vs. British left-hander Cameron Norrie if the seeds hold true to form followed by potential fourth-rounder vs. Pablo Carreno Busta and a possible quarterfinal against second-ranked Daniil Medvedev.

Federer said he's flushed the frustration of his final-set lapse vs. Auger-Aliassime and arrives in London in a much more positive head space. The fact that Wimbledon will permit fans, unlike Halle which was fan-free except for some corporate supporters, should further inspire Federer, who enjoys major crowd support at Wimbledon and globally.

"I had a mental moment where I was just not happy with how things were going in the match. I mean, that feeling when I started not liking...when things derail, let's say, mentally for me I was already down a break in the third," Federer said. "You might argue I would have maybe lost anyway. It was Felix's good play that got me there.

"It was definitely also there's ways to lose and a standard I set for myself how I go about things. The good thing now looking back is I know it will not happen here because I'm ready, I'm excited, I'm pumped up. I know I can do so much better."

Tennis Express

Though Federer is launching his 22nd consecutive Wimbledon playing for a record-extending 13th final, this is his first Wimbledon living in the bubble and his first Wimbledon after missing a year as the tournament was cancelled in 2020 due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Rather than renting a house in Wimbledon with wife Mirka and the couple's two sets of twins, Federer said he's adjusted to life in a London hotel room surrounded by his team.

"It's the bubble. It doesn't matter what the room size is, whatever, it's just living the bubble life is different. Took me some getting used to the first day or two, understanding where we're allowed to go,what we're allowed to do," Federer said. "Same thing with the on-site protocols. How does it work? By now I've gotten used toit. I'm embracing it. I'm okay with it."

After undergoing a pair of right knee surgeries and playing just eight matches this year, Federer views Wimbledon as a homecoming even staying in a hotel room rather than a home.

"Yeah, it does feel totally different than the last 20 years here since I've been coming here," Federer said. "We would arrive with the family, kids would be running everywhere. We organized the grocery shopping, get the house set up and all that stuff. Here we're with the team.

"But look, I still feel a big privilege that I'm actually able to play Wimbledon. If I look back at everything that I went through for the last year and a bit more with the injury, also with the pandemic, it's great that Wimbledon is back on. I'm happy I'm here."

Photo credit: Getty