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Federer targets Sampras’s record

tennis Updated: Jun 21, 2010 01:59 IST

AFP
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Roger Federer admits his bid to retain the Wimbledon title will be driven by the prospect of equalling Pete Sampras's record of seven singles' titles at the All England Club.

Federer will walk onto Centre Court on Monday for his first round match against Colombia's Alejandro Falla with Sampras firmly on his mind at the start of a potentially historic fortnight for the world number two.

Sampras has been the finest exponent of grass court tennis in the Open era, but the American conceded last week that Federer has a great chance to shatter his Wimbledon record.

The 28-year-old, who announced his arrival as a force at Wimbledon with a victory over Sampras here in 2001, has already beaten Sampras's record of 14 grand slam singles titles and knows it would be remarkable achievement to draw level with the American's tally of All England Club titles.

"Being one title away from it, obviously I'm thinking about equalling Pete's record a little bit because I'm aware of the great things he achieved," Federer said.

"It's nice of him to say I could beat his Wimbledon record but I don't feel pressure from that because people compared me to Sampras even when I had no grand slams.

"Obviously my game's made for grass. Since I came here as a junior and since I beat Pete here in 2001 and I won my first Wimbledon here in 2003, I think every time I play, I'll have a chance to win here.

"But we all know how hard it is to win grand slam titles. You have to break it down and make it simple for yourself. I just have to try to win the first round before thinking about everything else."

Although Federer's phenomenal record at Wimbledon was enough to guarantee him the number one seeding, ahead of world number one Rafael Nadal, he arrives in south-west London with serious questions over his form.

By his own high standards 2010 has been disappointing year for the Swiss, who has failed to win any of his seven tournaments since beating Andy Murray in the Australian Open final in January. Check this out