WIMBLEDON, England (AP) — Roger Federer has "been around the block," as he puts it. The Swiss star has played for major titles, for the record books, for a place in tennis history.
On Sunday, he plays for Olympic gold in singles. That's new even for him.
The final will be a rematch of the game the top-ranked player won on the same court in the Wimbledon final a month ago. His opponent, British player Andy Murray, is hoping the novelty of the situation will give him a slim advantage. Federer is also trying to complete a career Golden Slam — all four major titles and an Olympic win.
"It's so rare for him to be in a position where he's trying to do something new because he's achieved so much in tennis. I hope that will even things out a little bit," said Murray, whose head-to-head record against Federer is 8-8. "It's going to be a tough match."
Federer acknowledged being emotionally drained after his semifinal win Friday over Juan Martin del Potro, the longest best-of-three set match in Open history at four hours and 26 minutes.
But few believe that the match will detract from his performance on Sunday on a court where he has celebrated so many triumphs.
"Maybe that's what's helped me over the years, just being in that situation time and time again, you know, playing for something really, really big, playing for records, history books, big wins, titles, all that stuff," Federer said of his battle with del Potro. "Maybe that's what kept me calm, to be honest, more than actually being out on Wimbledon Centre Court."
In the Wimbledon final, Federer lost the first set and won the next three for his 17th Grand Slam title. Murray has yet to win a major, and his camp includes Ivan Lendl, who also went 0-4 in his first four Grand Slam finals but finished up with eight major titles.
Federer, who won a gold medal in doubles in Beijing in 2008, said after the marathon against del Potro that he planned to get a good night's sleep and warm up beginning Saturday.
"Hopefully you wake up and don't feel too stiff and on Sunday hopefully play a pretty good match. It's pretty straightforward from here, to be honest," he said casually.
Murray, who defeated Novak Djokovic in the other semifinal, was debating what he needs to change against Federer. In the Wimbledon final, the Swiss raised his game dramatically when the roof closed because of rain. The Olympic final will be best-of-five sets, in contrast to the earlier rounds. Continued...