London: Roger Federer insists he expects to challenge for Grand Slam titles for years to come despite his Wimbledon heartache because there is no serious threat from the next generation.
Federer fell agonisingly short of a record eighth Wimbledon title on Sunday as the Swiss star was beaten by Novak Djokovic in one of the great All England Club finals.
Yet the 17-time Grand Slam champion is convinced his strong showing at Wimbledon proves he will continue to compete with Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray for the sport’s major prizes for the foreseeable future, especially while much-touted youngsters like Grigor Dimitrov, Milos Raonic and Kei Nishikori continue to underachieve.
“I don’t feel a huge threat from them. There’s many good players from five or six to 20. But they’re also somewhat exchangeable from 30 or 40,” Federer said. “There’s a lot of dangerous players around there. But I feel like if I’m playing well I can control the field to a degree.”
“Clearly there’s never a guarantee. But I do believe the top guys are the ones we know and who are still going to be deciding outcomes of the bigger tournaments, like the Masters 1000s and the Grand Slams.”
Bulgaria’s Dimitrov, 23, and Canada’s Raonic, 23, made it to their first Grand Slam semi-finals at Wimbledon, but both came up short against Djokovic and Federer respectively. In contrast, Nadal won his first Grand Slam aged 19, Federer at 21 and Djokovic at 20. “We all made the breakthrough much earlier than most of the guys,” Federer said. “Rafa was incredible as a teenager. I was better at 21. That’s when I started to make my rise.” (Agencies)