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Federer looks to complete 'Roger Slam'

The No 1 player is chasing four straight Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and a personal milestone.

india Updated: Jan 30, 2006 13:25 IST

Roger Federer is chasing four straight Grand Slam titles at Roland Garros and a personal milestone, but the world number one is not consumed by breaking through at this year's French Open.

The Swiss master won his seventh slam title and second Australian Open crown with a 5-7, 7-5, 6-0, 6-2 victory over Cypriot bolter Marcos Baghdatis in the men's final here on Sunday.

But the 24-year-old Federer, who broke down in tears on the victory dias shortly after lifting the trophy, has yet to win on the red clay of Roland Garros, which he needs to continue on for a shot at the Grand Slam of the four tennis majors.

If he wins in Paris he will have completed the 'Roger Slam', having won four consecutive majors, but a Grand Slam is recognised as one being completed in a calendar year, as was twice achieved by his tennis idol Rod Laver.

"Winning three or four or two in a row is a great effort, so I'm going for four and that would be fantastic," said Federer, who has now won seven of the last 11 slams.

"I enjoy winning tournaments. I enjoy playing well at slams," he said.

"Obviously, I know the importance of winning the French, what it would do to my career.

"But, again, Wimbledon is the one for me. And if I keep on winning Wimbledon and not the French, I'm very happy about that, too. So that's no problem."

Federer intends bringing over his Australian coach Tony Roche to Europe ahead of the French Open to work on his game on clay to give him his best possible chance after losing to Spaniard Rafael Nadal in the semi-finals there last time.

"Tony came to Hamburg last year, which I thought was pretty early. He might come a week early, maybe to Rome. We'll see about that," he said.

"He's definitely coming for that trip again, I'm very happy about that. I think he also knows the importance of the French and of the clay.

"I think the more time I spend with him, the more information I get about playing on clay. Just being together and working together, it's very interesting.

"I'm not going to change anything in my game very much. I thought I played the right way last year at the French, maybe I didn't play as great as I was hoping to in the semi-final.

"But I still gave myself a chance. Rafael totally deserved to win the French. Best player by far on clay last season. I hope he'll be back by then and I get a chance to play him again."

Federer has won three Wimbledons (2003, 2004, 2005), two US Opens (2004 and 2005) and two Australian Opens (2004 and 2006), and has moved above two of his teenage idols, Boris Becker and Stefan Edberg, on the all-time Grand Slam leaders list.

"I left my idols behind me now. That means something. I'm very pleased. But they still stay my heroes from back in the old days, Becker and Edberg. I'm definitely on a great roll at the moment," he said.

Pete Sampras is the all-time leader with 14 majors.

But Federer was choked up at the presentation dias by talking about his greatest tennis idol, Rod Laver, the 11-times Grand Slam singles champion of the 1960s.

"It's especially nice from Rod to come out and do it because he doesn't need it," Federer said later. "He doesn't live in Australia now. It's a long way (from the United States). He's not the youngest anymore, so we really appreciate the players. To finally meet Rod means a lot to me."

Laver, 67, is one of the revered figures of tennis as the only man to have won two Grand Slams of all four majors in 1962 and 1969.

Laver, who was stripped of five years' of Grand Slam tennis in his prime when he left the amateurs to play professional.

First Published: Jan 30, 2006 13:25 IST