BEIJING: He has not won an Olympic medal yet, but the world’s top tennis star Roger Federer is a hero wherever he goes.
“The focus is on the Olympics, not on retaining the No.1 ranking”, said Federer as he warmed up for the session.
“I do a lot of press through the year. This is bigger and better. Hopefully, I will get some good questions”, he said cheekily.
“One of my dreams is to do well in the Olympic Games. It is great that I am carrying the flag in the Opening Ceremony on my birthday. I have great memories of that in Athens. It is fantastic to see the athletes on one side and the fans on the other”, he said.
Quite pleased about arriving early, Federer said that it was perhaps a blessing in disguise that he lost to players in recent weeks that he should not have lost in the normal course, as he was playing solid.
“I knew that it would be warm here. I get one week preparation here, which is perfect. Usually we get three or four days. One week is a lot for us. Hope it pays off with good results. If I do well in the Olympics and the US Open, I can still save the season”, he said.
Federer said that the heat or the pollution would not play a role in deciding the matches, and that he was not scared to compete in Beijing, in what could be the “most important tournament that he would ever play in Asia”.
“I have memories of Carl Lewis and Ben Johnson. I remember Marc Rosset winning the gold in the Barcelona Games. It is great for me to be part of it”, he said, looking back at his early memories of the Games.
“I will win the gold here, or may be in 2012 in London”, Federer said, as he promised to chase his dream of an Olympic gold, till he succeeded.
“Most of the players are here, chasing the same dream. Only very few are staying away from the Olympics to prepare for US Open. I have to play rock solid. I have done it, and know that I can do it here”, he said.
On the other side, Federer said that he was disappointed to see what happened to the Olympic torch relay in London, Paris etc.
“That has not stopped me. I want to be part of the Olympics, and chase a dream, and get to know the Chinese people”, he said.
Leaves Games village
Federer in a bid not to lose focus on Thursday said he would not stay in the Olympic Village to avoid the constant attention from other athletes.
“It’s impossible really, there are so many athletes asking for photos and so on. It is not ideal to prepare,” said the Swiss. “I’ll go down once in a while to see other Swiss athletes.”