Revitalised Federer targets Wimbledon trophy

LONDON - Having finally lifted the crushing burden of his French Open jinx, Roger Federer now targets a sixth Wimbledon title and a record-breaking 15th Grand Slam trophy.

Twelve months on from his epic, five-set defeat here to Rafael Nadal in a final widely regarded as the greatest ever, the Swiss desperately wants to reclaim the crown he had held for the previous five years.

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Roger Federer of Switzerland poses next to the Eiffel Tower during a photocall in Paris, June 8, 2009. After breaking his French Open jinx, Federer is eyeing the trophy of Wimbledon, which will start in London on June 22, 2009.

A sixth All England Club title would be just one short of Pete Sampras's mark but would also take him past the American's total of 14 majors, the level he reached with his first Roland Garros victory earlier this month.

Federer is a rejuvenated player.

Five months ago, his tearful exit after losing to Nadal in the Australian Open final was interpreted as an emotional confession that his era was over.

But marriage and impending fatherhood have given the 27-year-old a new perspective on his personal life while his unexpected Paris breakthrough, and the ongoing concerns over Nadal's suspect knees, have all combined to make Federer the overwhelming favourite.

"I have achieved more than I ever thought I would," said Federer.

"My dream as a boy was to win Wimbledon one day. I won that five times, like one wasn't enough.

"I think I still have many more tournaments to go and many more Grand Slams. I am not addicted to beating all possible records, but I'm very proud of them."

While Federer ponders another Wimbledon title, world number one Nadal is fighting for fitness.

The four-time French Open champion suffered a shock Roland Garros defeat to Sweden's Robin Soderling, his first Paris reverse, and his helter-skelter, never-say-die approach to his craft is beginning to take its toll.

The Spaniard admits that a worrying knee injury, a painful legacy of his love affair with clay courts, is threatening his appearance at Wimbledon where he had been runner-up in successive years before his famous 2008 coup.

He will make a decision after Friday when he tests the knee on the plush lawns of the Hurlingham Club.

"It will be a good test to see how the knee is doing and it will provide the perfect setting to practice before Wimbledon. If I feel the recuperation is going well I will be more than happy to be there again. I hope that's the case," said Nadal.

With the Spaniard struggling, Federer's likely title rivals will be Andy Murray who's bidding to become the first British men's champion since Fred Perry in 1936, former two-time runner-up Andy Roddick and world number four Novak Djokovic.

Murray, buoyed by being the first British winner at Queen's since Bunny Austin in 1938, boasts a 6-2 winning record over Federer.

A quarter-final place last year is his best showing at Wimbledon where he was outclassed by Nadal in straight sets.

The 22-year-old world number three vowed not to get distracted by the desperate hype of the home crowds.

"A lot of people use it as an excuse as to why a Briton hasn't won Wimbledon for so long but I don't feel it makes any difference once the tournament starts," he said.

"It's easy to get caught up in all of the hype. But I'll prepare the same as I do for all the big tournaments.

"I would love to win Wimbledon one day, but I don't think about it too much. I could easily lose in the first round if I have an off day."

World number four Djokovic was the runner-up on grass at Halle last weekend, but immediately wrote off his chances at Wimbledon where last year he was knocked out in the second round by Marat Safin.

His record against the top two also makes depressing reading; he has a 4-7 record against Federer and 4-14 when facing Nadal.

Recently-married Roddick, the runner-up to Federer in 2004 and 2005, has plenty to prove.

It's been six years since the American won his one and only Grand Slam title, but that 2003 US Open triumph preceded the Federer-Nadal era and the fear remains that Roddick's game is too unsophisticated for the new age.