London: Swiss icon Roger Federer starts his Wimbledon campaign on a quest to win his eighth title at the All England Club and his 18th major tennis championship.
The 34-year-old is taking to the grass courts at Wimbledon in a season that has been marred by illness, knee and back injuries, and surgery, reports Efe. He missed the French Open due to back injury. Play starts at Wimbledon on Monday, with the men's singles title clash on July 10. "I felt like I got unlucky throughout the process with hurting my back again before Madrid, getting sick in Miami, so forth. I think I got into a tough spell there. I just felt I had to stop everything by not playing Paris, reset basically, essentially," the Swiss great said during his pre-tournament press conference on Saturday. "I don't want to say 'start from zero', but just reset from there and make another push for Wimbledon, which was great." The seven-time Wimbledon champion has made the final at the All England Club the past two editions, losing to Serbian world No.1 Novak Djokovic both times. "Clearly I'm not thinking of the title right away. It's too far ahead. It's too far. Regardless if even Novak (Djokovic) or Andy (Murray) would be in the draw, and they are in the draw, they are the big favourites in my opinion. They've had such a great last six months, last few years. To me they are the ones to beat," Federer, who turns 35 on Aug. 8, said. Federer, who has won a record 17 Grand Slam titles, won the championship at Wimbledon in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2012. The Swiss star discussed the knee surgery he underwent earlier this year, telling reporters that the procedure had gone well. "I've always tried to avoid surgeries as much as possible just 'cause I always felt like it was definitely not the thing you want to do as a professional athlete," Federer said. "So I really don't want to go into details what it was, but it was a meniscus tear in the knee. It was a simple operation. My recovery actually was very quick and very good." The world No.3 also discussed his decision to play in the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, despite fears about the Zika virus. "I have never reconsidered my decision. I know I will play. I will try everything I possibly can to be there. For me, it's always been a big deal, the Olympics. Regardless of points or not, regardless of where it was in the world, it was always going to be a priority for me in the calendar," Federer said. "So, yeah, I mean, I'll put mosquito spray on my body, I'll do that. I'll take the precautions I have to. That's it really."