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The Games occupy a special place in the heart of Roger Federer, the most successful men’s tennis player of all time, and the Swiss has his sights firmly set on a golden Olympic swansong at Rio 2016.
Some refer to him as ‘Fed Express’ (‘FedEx’ for short), others know him as ‘the Swiss Maestro’, but everyone is agreed that Roger Federer is the best male player ever to grace a tennis court. In an era of specialists, Federer is the consummate all-rounder, as comfortable on clay or hard courts as he is on grass, and boasts a style that combines accuracy, power, fluidity and grace, Since his first Wimbledon victory in 2003, he has amassed an incredible sequence of triumphs, including a record 17 Grand Slam victories, 23 consecutive semi-finals in major tournaments, and, to date, a cumulative total of 302 weeks spent as world number one. He is also the only player to have won two of the Grand Slam events (Wimbledon and the US Open) five times running. Meanwhile, his intense rivalry with Spain’s Rafael Nadal, and since 2011, his duels with Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Great Britain’s Andy Murray, have provided tennis fans with countless unforgettable moments, and a plethora of Grand Slam finals of the highest possible calibre.
Federer has always placed special importance on representing Switzerland at the Olympic Games. At the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2008, his pride at being chosen as his country’s flag-bearer was clear for all to see. And while he suffered disappointment in the singles, knocked out at the quarter-final stage by the USA’s James Blake, there was a golden lining in the doubles, where he and Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Swedish pair Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final. Federer’s explosion of emotion after the victory left nobody in any doubt as to just how much winning an Olympic gold meant.
After winning Wimbledon for the seventh time and regaining his place as world No 1 in July 2012, Federer was in confident mood as he returned to scene of his latest Grand Slam triumph for the Olympic tennis tournament. As expected, he reached the final, but then things went against the script, as he was outplayed by local hero, Andy Murray. Gracious in defeat, the Swiss was still delighted with his Olympic silver. However, it also heightened his determination to go one better, and his schedule over coming years has been shaped to ensure he peaks for Rio 2016. The final chapter of Federer’s romance with the Games may yet enjoy another golden climax.