I feel much better than I did for Wimbledon 2013: Federer

Sat Jun 21, 2014 10:56am EDT
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By Pritha Sarkar

LONDON (Reuters) - A year after having his "butt kicked" at Wimbledon, a fitter and healthier Roger Federer was back at the All England Club on Saturday eager to kick butt himself over the next fortnight.

Little-known Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky enjoyed more than 15 minutes of fame after he condemned the seven-times champion to a brutal second-round defeat last June.

That result not only ended Federer's remarkable run of reaching 36 consecutive grand slam quarter-finals or better dating back to 2004, it was also the first time in eight years he had lost to a rival ranked outside the top 100.

Though he did not let on then, the Swiss master now admits the bewitching racket skills that had wowed fans from London to South Africa and Melbourne to New York temporarily lost their magic in June 2013.

"It's a pleasure being healthy and really fit and eager to give it a go again," said Federer, dressed impeccably in a white RF embossed pullover and track pants.

"I feel I have a very good chance again this year," he told reporters. "I hope to utilize my fitness. I'm really coming in with a much better feeling than maybe in the last year, for instance.

"I don't know if my game was good enough to win the entire thing last year.

"I had too many hiccups leading into Wimbledon and probably ... winning Halle (just before Wimbledon) ... I think masked the problems I was playing with, the way I was playing," added Federer.   Continued...

Roger Federer of Switzerland prepares to return the ball to Ernests Gulbis of Latvia during their men's singles match at the French Open tennis tournament at the Roland Garros stadium in Paris June 1, 2014.      REUTERS/Gonzalo Fuentes