“I'm so close, it's obviously a pity to some degree,” said Federer at Wimbledon, where he is the top seed. “At the same time I'm happy for Pete so he can keep it for the moment. If I get it back, it's even sweeter. So I'll definitely try to do that. Once the clay court season was going to come around, it was always logical that Rafa was going to pick up tournaments. I don't want to say nobody expected him to win all four. But I know his level of play on clay. It's supreme to anybody. So it was impressive to see how well he played. He deserves to be world No. 1 again.”
Last year, Nadal was unable to play Wimbledon and attempt to defend his title as he was suffering knee injuries, but the last time the two played at the All England Club in 2008 final, Nadal stopped the Swiss winning streak at five titles in a classic five setter. Federer, who won his sixth title in 2009, would love to have a chance at revenge.
“Last year was a big blow because he was the defending champion,” said Federer, who overcame Andy Roddick in a five set final. ““Sure, in some ways it makes it maybe easier to win, but at the same time you have more pressure, too. If you think about it, it doesn't make it any easier because pressure plays a huge part in our game. Look, I'm happy he's back. I want him to play every tournament. I want the other guys to play as well because it's better for the game if we all face off, that there's more story for the sport.”
Even though he owns 16 Grand Slam titles to seven from Nadal, the lefthander owns a 14-7 record against the Swiss, arguably the only stain on Federer's otherwise brilliant record. Both Federer and Nadal lost matches in grasscourt warm-up tournaments coming into Wimbledon, but both were pleased with their form overall. Nadal didn't drop a set at Roland Garros, playing both standout offense and defensive. Federer expects more of the same at Wimbledon.
“Some think he plays defensive because he's got incredible passing shots. But on the offensive with his forehand, he can put it on a dime wherever he wants to do it,” Federer said. We've seen him play aggressive in the past on hard courts and grass courts. I don't think he needs to prove himself anymore that he can play offensive. Otherwise he wouldn't have been able to win the Australian Open and, let's say, Wimbledon as well. I felt like what I saw was the old classic Rafa on clay hardly losing sets and matches. That's what we got from him. That's why it's going to be incredibly hard to beat him here at Wimbledon.”