Lawn Tennis: I'd Be Surprised If Nadal Reaches Final - Federer; Favourite Stokes Up Rivalry by Dismissing Spaniards Hopes

Daily Post (Liverpool, England), July 5, 2006 | Go to article overview

Lawn Tennis: I'd Be Surprised If Nadal Reaches Final - Federer; Favourite Stokes Up Rivalry by Dismissing Spaniards Hopes


Byline: BY DUNCAN BACH Daily Post Correspondent

WIMBLEDON champion Roger Federer has stoked up his rivalry with Rafael Nadal by claiming he would be surprised if the Spaniard reaches Sunday's final.

Nadal has emerged as the only serious threat to Federer's position as world number one, beating the all-conquering Swiss star an astonishing six times in seven meetings.

Four of those victories came in the finals of clay or hard court events - his preferred surfaces -including at last month's French Open.

But Nadal has traditionally struggled on grass and Federer insists the 20-year-old's passage into today's quarter-finals has been relatively easy.

"The men's game isn't all about me and Rafael Nadal," said the number one seed, who is on course to win his fourth consecutive Wimbledon title.

"The attention on us was very big throughout the clay court season because we played in three finals, and before that we played in the Dubai final.

"Obviously it would be interesting to see what happens on grass. We still don't know how good he is because he's had a pretty good draw so far, even though Andre Agassi is a tough p l ayer.

"If Rafael made the final that would be quite a surprise to many, even though he's such a good player you might expect him to get there.

"To a certain degree it would be a surprise for me if he got to the final."

Federer faces an intriguing quarter-final against Croatian seventh seed Mario Ancic, who was the last player to beat him on grass in the first round at Wimbledon in 2002.

"I feel okay about playing Mario. We've had some tough matches in the past, we just played each other at the French Open," said Federer, who won is straight sets.

"Obviously, that's very different to what we'll see here. …

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