x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Federer eyes historic day

The Swiss prepares to topple Sampras' record with victory in the Wimbledon final securing him a 15th grand slam title.

Roger Federer is the strong favourite to defeat Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final.
Roger Federer is the strong favourite to defeat Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final.

LONDON // Tennis history should be made this afternoon on the most famous stage of all as Roger Federer is poised to become the most successful player the game has seen by capturing his 15th grand slam title. A month ago Federer drew level with his great friend Pete Sampras after winning the French Open for the first time.

The Swiss master is now a strong favourite to go past the illustrious American by defeating Andy Roddick in today's final. Roddick stands alone as the remaining survivor from the 127 men seeking to shatter the second seed's dream here. Previous form suggests the sixth-seeded American will be incapable of springing a Centre Court upset as Federer has beaten him in 18 of their 20 meetings, two of them in Wimbledon finals.

Federer, who can also regain the world No 1 ranking from the recuperating Spaniard Rafael Nadal, is taking nothing for granted, though. "I've always said about Andy that his serve is so dangerous on whatever surface you play him on. No matter how bad his record is against me, he will always have that weapon." Ivo Karlovic took an even more potent serve than Roddick's into the quarter-finals against Federer and was almost contemptuously swept aside by the Swiss, and Roddick can expect more of the same.

Federer, 27, will not rest on his laurels if he breaks Sampras's record and returns to the top of the rankings. His wife, Mirka, is expecting their first baby and Federer commented: "I don't know if you heard, but Mirka's dream was always that our child can see me play as well. So there you go. "I have to play a few more years just because of Mirka. "And, anyway, the 2012 Olympics here at Wimbledon is something I'm going to be a part of. So I don't think it's going to change a whole lot for me in the next year or so.

Federer admitted that his mindset might change, but added: "I'm playing wonderful tennis at the moment. I'm not really worried about my motivation in any way, because I love this game too much. I'd like to stick around for a long time." wjohnson@thenational.ae Final, Abu Dhabi Sports, 5pm.