Tennis: 'I know how badly Andy is feeling' - Federer

By Paul Newman

As someone who has done it, got the T-shirt and wept the tears, Roger Federer yesterday had only sympathy and encouragement for Scot Andy Murray, the man he had condemned to a fourth successive Grand Slam final defeat at Wimbledon a day earlier.

"I've been there," Federer said. "I know how it feels. I think he won over a lot of people and the hearts of the fans because of the emotions he showed in Australia and now again here. I think it does show that we are human.

"I know we put on a poker face out there when we play and we try hard and smash serves and balls.

"Of course our hearts are broken, obviously for Andy in a big way. But he's still got so many years left. And the opportunities will come around if he has a good mental focus for the full year," said the 30-year-old Swiss.

Federer recalled one of the moments when he cried in public, after losing to Rafael Nadal in the final of the 2009 Australian Open.

"In the first moment, you just put your head down and go: 'Man, that was so close.' And you have to wait a year [for another chance]? Are you serious?

"You're disappointed because you've played some of your best, greatest tennis. There can only be one winner, but sometimes you wish it could be two.

"Then you're like: 'All right, I'll handle this.' And you walk out and 15,000 people feel bad for you. Next thing you know it's a bit awkward.

"That's the hard part. You'd be happy just to stand there, hold the trophy, take pictures, sign autographs, no problem. But then to have to talk and speak, that's the hard part," he said.

Monday's victory was Federer's 17th in a Grand Slam final, extending his own record. Considering it was his first Grand Slam triumph for 2 years and took him back to No1 in the world rankings for the first time for more than two years, did he regard it as his greatest triumph?

"I don't know, but looking back this is definitely a special place in my heart because there were so many components to making this one unique," he said. "I was aware of it before the match, during and after and today again."

In less than three weeks, Federer will return to the All England Club for the Olympic tournament.

Although he won doubles gold in Beijing in 2008 playing alongside Stanislas Wawrinka, Federer suffered surprising singles defeats in all three of his previous Olympic appearances, to Arnaud Di Pasquale (in the bronze medal match in Sydney), to Tomas Berdych (in the second round in Athens) and to James Blake (in the quarter-finals in Beijing).

"Right after Beijing I thought: 'It's going to be incredible to be playing the Olympics at Wimbledon.' That's how I feel right now, but I realised that having an Olympic gold in Beijing was going to take a lot of pressure off me in London.

"I thought it was going to increase with people talking about it, because it's one of the three big goals of the season.

"I've played 50 to 60 slams in my career, but it doesn't change the fact I hope I do well at the Olympics and savour the experience."

- Independent

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