Fri, Jun 22, 2007 - Page 23 News List

Federer aims for Borg's five-in-a-row record

AFP , LONDON

Roger Federer will shake off his latest Roland Garros mugging, wrap himself up in his trusty All England Club security blanket and target Bjorn Borg's record of five successive Wimbledon titles here next week.

Having seen his latest bid for Grand Slam immortality shot down once again by Rafael Nadal on the French Open clay, the world No. 1 returns to the grass of center court where he is the undoubted ruler.

Victory on July 8 will place the Swiss just two titles shy of Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon crowns and level Borg's five-in-a-row from 1976-1980.

Few will bet against the 25-year-old going on to become the both the all-time Wimbledon king and Grand Slam title collector as a win here would give Federer his 11th major leaving Sampras's best of 14 tantalizingly within reach.

Despite Nadal again shattering his hopes of becoming just the third man in history to hold all four Grand Slam titles at the same time, Federer insists that defeat in Paris will have no bearing on his Wimbledon campaign.

"It's always easy to forget the clay season because there was so much talk about it. Once you get on the grass, great. If you lose, you kind of forget about it. I'm very excited about the grass season. Everything is in the past," he said.

"This is a huge opportunity for me once again, to win Wimbledon. And hopefully win my fifth in a row, that would be absolutely incredible," Federer said.

Borg is getting used to seeing his records matched; at Roland Garros, Nadal equalled his three consecutive French Opens.

The Swedish legend has already had reason to be grateful to Federer after the Swiss's shock win over Sampras in 2001 stopped the US player from also becoming a five-in-a-row Wimbledon winner.

"I have always seen an awful lot of myself in Roger, the way he approaches the game, the way he carries himself," Borg told Vogue magazine.

"He doesn't always let everything show on the surface, all of the emotion, but he cares about it strongly underneath," he said.

"Off court he is very relaxed. He's a very cool guy," Borg added.

If Federer is to be toppled, who is the likely slayer?

There hasn't been a Spanish men's champion since Manuel Santana in 1966.

But Spanish hero Nadal stunned everyone, himself included, by reaching the final last year after having to come back from a two-set deficit to beat unheralded US player Robert Kendrick in the second round.

The 21-year-old insists he can approach Wimbledon with the same mindset as last year -- with no pressure on a surface that is still alien to him.

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