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Wimbledon will put tennis on the Olympic map: Federer

sports Updated: Nov 25, 2010 14:19 IST

Staging the Olympic tennis at Wimbledon for the 2012 Games will help give the unheralded event the fanfare it deserves, says Roger Federer.

When the sport slotted back into the Olympic programme in 1988, it did so with a comfortable click rather than any pyrotechnics, but its Olympic image could be in line for a revamp thanks to the the iconic setting of the next event.

Federer, a champion at the All England Club six times in a glittering career, now cannot wait for his chance to win a singles gold medal on the green turf having fallen short in his three previous Olympic attempts.

"The beauty of it being at Wimbledon is huge for the world of tennis. At the Olympics, the focus is on swimming and athletics and tennis has been forgotten a little bit," the 29-year-old told Reuters during an interview at a stately London hotel.

"At the last couple of Olympics, we've seen the best players are always playing. Rafa (Nadal) winning the singles in Beijing, me winning the doubles over there, that was great news for tennis in an Olympic spirit.

"In London, with the heritage we have for tennis through Wimbledon, it's probably going to be the biggest tennis Olympics we're going to have," added Federer, who was reduced to tears after unexpectedly winning a doubles gold in 2008.

Despite his voice "starting to fade" after speaking for more than two hours about the season-ending finals, Federer was eager to talk up the benefits of staging the Olympic tennis event on such an iconic stage, especially since it will take place just three weeks after the grasscourt major.

"It being in London will help the cause," the 16-times grand slam champion, looking dapper in a navy suit and tie, said while taking repeated swigs from a water bottle.

"We don't have to travel an extra thousands of miles to get to the venue as we travel enough. Before you had some guys who did not like playing on grass at all so they would just skip it.

"But now it's different. Everybody today plays on grass. For raising awareness for tennis at the Olympic Games, I think London is going to be the perfect place."