Wimbledon Preview as Federer and Muguruza eyes defences

Wimbledon 2018 is upon us, with Roger Federer and Garbine Muguruza looking to defend their titles.

Whilst Muguriza was claiming her maiden title at SW19 last year, Federer was continuing to make history – claiming his 8th title, as he is the most successful male player ever.

Indeed another Federer win would put him level with the most successful single player of all time –
Martina Navratilova.

Federer, who at 35 became the oldest winner of Wimbledon in 2017 , is again firm favourite to take the title in London this year.

Federer missed the clay court season, again dominated by his main rival Rafa Nadal who claimed an 11th French Open – which moved him to within three of the Swiss star.

Federer is now in confident mood having taken time off and is fresh ready for Wimbledon.

“I think the three months did me again a world of good, that I didn’t play during the clay court season,” he said.

“We had a great time, vacation, family time, practice, fitness, tennis. Everything worked very well.

“I’m hitting the ball well. I’m confident.”

Nadal, the world number one, comes into Wimbledon as second seed and is very much seen as Federer’s main rival. The Spaniard missed his usual warm-up tournament at Queen’s – but he insists he needed a break.

“I’m feeling good,” Rafael Nadal said. “I’ve always loved being here. It’s always been a special thing.

“Of course it wasn’t positive for me not to play Queen’s. I was sad not to have the chance to be there. On the other hand, the reason I didn’t play there was because I had played a lot on clay, so I was very happy.

“But that’s how it works. I’m not 20 anymore. I have to take decisions on the schedule sometimes.

“I decided not to play Queen’s because I’d had a long clay-court season. The body needed a rest and a slow adaptation to adapt to the grass. That’s what I did.”

With Andy Murray’s decision to withdraw because of injury, British eyes or on their new number one Kyle Edmund – who is seeded 22.

“It is great to be the British No 1,” Edmund says.

“It is a very privileged position to be in. It will be my first time at Wimbledon in that position, so I don’t know what to expect but it’s a nice problem to have.”

On the women’s side and British number one Johanna Konta – who reached the semi-finals last year – is also seeded number 22, having struggled with injury this season.

But Konta is hopeful of another good few weeks on the grass at Wimbledon – “I’m really looking forward to playing at Wimbledon. It’s the best tournament in the world, so I’m looking forward to taking part in it again.”

Muguruza is the reigning Wimbledon champion on the women’s side – but the favourites coming in are Czech ace and two-time winner Petra Kvitova and the returning Serena Williams.

Kvitova is seen as favourite as she is seen as being in the form of her life, 18-months on from being stabbed at her house.

“It would be great,” Kvitova says. “The 2014 Wimbledon when I won, the emotions just came to me. I know how that feels and it would be great to feel it again, I will not lie, probably more special after what happened. Hopefully, one day I can do it again.”

Williams is returning to Wimbledon for the first time since her win in 2016, having missed last hear to her pregnancy.

The seven-time Wimbledon winner, and 23-time Grand Slam winner, is confident that she continue her love in with SW19 – indeed she wants to maintain her unbeaten record have not lost on the grass there since 2014.

Williams, who was giving a seeding despite now being ranked outside the top-100, also insists that since becoming a mother she has ‘more’ of a killer instinct.

“I feel like it’s stronger because I’ve been through so much,” she said.

“I put so much on the back burner. I feel like even more so, I’m even more competitive, it definitely surprises me a little because I thought, you know, it would be different.

“I thought, you know, ‘Hey, I have this amazing child, I have all these grand slams, this is all super bonus,’ and it is. I definitely feel a lot less pressure out there, but I am a little bit shocked at how much I almost want that pressure. You know, I almost want to feel the need to go out there and be the best that I can be.”

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