Federer has sights set on Becker record

Roger Federer has revealed his desire to emulate boy-hood hero Boris Becker and claim a third Wimbledon title.

Roger Federer has revealed his desire to emulate boy-hood hero Boris Becker and claim a third Wimbledon title.

The world number one today takes on Australian Lleyton Hewitt for a place in the men’s final, which he has won for the last two years.

Still only 23, Federer is already being hailed as one of the greatest champions in the history of the All England Club.

But the mild-mannered Swiss insists he still has some way to go to eclipse the likes of seven-time winner Pete Sampras, great Swedish champion Bjorn Borg and Becker, who claimed his first title as a teenager in 1985.

“That would be something special for me, to join the likes of Sampras and [Bjorn] Borg who have won three in a row,” reflected Federer.

“Boris also won Wimbledon three times and he was my idol when I was growing up, and to equal that would be fantastic too.”

Federer recalled: “The ‘Becker-Boom’ in Germany came over to Switzerland when he won Wimbledon, I was four or five years old and that was when I really got into tennis.

“I always followed him and [Stefan] Edberg, and they really inspired me, especially Boris. I am not quite there yet, though. I have to be patient and stay focused on the match against Lleyton.”

Federer defeated Hewitt in last year’s quarter-finals, and there had been some criticism over the 2002 Wimbledon champion being seeded third behind Andy Roddick despite currently being above the American, at number two, in the world rankings.

And the top seed reflected: “I am really looking forward to playing him, but in a way wished I was playing someone else.

“The best in the world are usually always the toughest and you know that on any given day they can beat you. It needs a good performance from me.”

Federer added on BBC One: “I have not seen him play for some months, and it is going to be an interesting match – we have both probably been looking forward to the clash in the semis.”

Having already overcome two five-set matches on his way to the last four, Andy Roddick must overcome the 2002 Australian Open Thomas Johansson.

The 30-year-old Swede has made a remarkable recovery to enjoy his best ever Wimbledon after missing the entire 2003 season with a knee injury which threatened his future.

Johansson’s conclusive win over David Nalbandian in the last eight proved he had enough left in the tank to give Roddick trouble.

Johansson said: “A lot of people did not think I was going to be able to come back but I love tennis and I missed it a lot.

“This is one of the best weeks of my life. Wimbledon has a great history and it’s the biggest tournament and now I am in the semi-final.

“A lot of people say this is just once in a lifetime but I don’t feel like that. I know what it takers to win a grand slam and when I play my best tennis I can compete with the big boys.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox