x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Federer quest continues as Safin says goodbye

Roger Federer was set to continue his bid for a sixth Wimbledon title today after a "relieved" Marat Safin waved farewell last night.

Roger Federer takes on Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second match on Centre Court.
Roger Federer takes on Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second match on Centre Court.

Roger Federer was set to continue his bid for a sixth Wimbledon title today after a "relieved" Marat Safin ? his semi-final opponent last year ? waved a less than fond farewell. Safin, the 14th seed, became the biggest casualty of the championships so far when he crashed out at the hands of unknown American qualifier Jesse Levine last night. The former world No 1 has already announced he will retire at the end of this season and his last memories of SW19 will be unhappy ones after world No 133 Levine won 6-2, 3-6, 7-6, 6-4 on Court 18. Asked how he felt to end his Wimbledon career on such a low note, Safin joked: "Relieved." The 29-year-old Russian, famous for complaining about everything from the grass to the price of food in the players' restaurant, added: "It is not the perfect thing, not the way to finish (my) Wimbledon story. "But it's okay. That's life. I think I've managed to do pretty well in my career. Unfortunately, I was a little bit unlucky with my injuries. That's the only thing that I regret, but I cannot do anything about it. "Also I made a couple of great comebacks but eventually just the knee injury was really tough to come back from. When you're injured with the knees, something with the legs, it's not easy to recover." Safin won the US Open as a 20 year old in 2000 ? demolishing Pete Sampras in the final ? and the Australian Open in 2005, but is still considered an underachiever given his immense natural talent. "You know what, in the history of tennis, everybody's an underachiever," he added. "Every single person. (Andre) Agassi should have been winning, I don't know, 15 grand slams. Sampras should have been winning 20. Federer should already have 25. (Marcelo) Rios at least five. "Everybody could do better. I should probably have won a couple more, but I'm pretty satisfied with what I did." Federer was today due to face Spain's Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in the second match on Centre Court, with fourth seed Novak Djokovic opening proceedings on Court One against Germany's Simon Greul. However, the match of the second round looks set to take place tomorrow, with fifth seed Juan Martin del Potro up against former champion Lleyton Hewitt. Del Potro has assumed Rafael Nadal's position in the draw following the Spaniard's withdrawal with a knee injury, and turned in a suitably impressive display yesterday in beating Arnaud Clement 6-3, 6-1, 6-2. Hewitt, the 2002 champion but unseeded this year, also only dropped six games in thrashing American Robby Ginepri 6-4, 6-1, 6-1.

*PA Sport