Roger Federer's Wimbledon prep has had a very different start this year, with a shorter grass period, coming right after clay. The historic 10th title at the Halle Open over David Goffin, 7-6(2), 6-1, has fueled his bid for a record ninth Wimbledon title with an extra dose of confidence.
His 102nd ATP crown also makes Federer the only man to own three ATP singles titles this year. The Swiss says the efficient win in Germany has rejuvenated him. “I turned 10 before them, they are turning 10 in July,” Federer said about winning his 10th Halle title, comparing it with the upcoming 10th birthday for his twin daughters.
“I feel young again. Anyway, on the flight and then at home later tomorrow morning, when I wake up, I’ll feel old again. But for now I feel young”. “Obviously it feels really good,” Federer continued.
Federer will also be heading to the All England Club as the likely second seed, above his rival Rafael Nadal. The short transition from clay to grass doesn't seem to have negatively affected his playing. He now owns the 2019 highest winning percentage in the ATP, 88.9%.
He remains the world No. 3 and in third place for the Race to London. “It’s just a really good feeling to have and obviously now with a bit more reflection I think it’s a special moment in my career to win a title for the 10th time," Federer said.
“Especially one where I’ve been coming here for so long and have had so much success, the most success of any tournament actually that I’ve played. It feels great. So I’m very, very happy clearly”.
In his 17th appearance at Halle, he cruised through three matches, with a breezy semifinal win over Pierre-Hugues Herbert, 6-3, 6-3, in addition to the first and final round two-set wins over John Millman and David Goffin.
Only two matches went the distance, in three, testy sets: Round of 16 and quarterfinals with Jo-Wilfriend Tsonga and Roberto Bautista Agut. For Federer, serve is key to dictating play in his matches, and in the match with Herbert, the Swiss's serve didn't let him down.
"I didn’t struggle on serve, I had my opportunities on the return and was able to take them," Fed said after the semifinal win over Herbert. Federer opted not to play the Mercedes Cup at Stuttgart this year, where he would have been the defending champion.
Halle will be Federer's only grass warm-up event before he guns for a record ninth Wimbledon win. "Compared to [the past] few years, I have had much less time to prepare for the grass-court season," Federer said according to the ATP at the start of the week in Halle.
"Not having played the clay before [in 2017 and 2018], I had plenty of time. So, I don't want to say I feel stressed, but the transition was definitely faster than in the past few years." He's looking as fully fit as ever and the clay season doesn't seem to have taxed the 20-time slam champion.
His win over Millman helped avenge his loss to him at last year's U.S. Open. With Nadal just two slams behind him, the 20-time slam champ is hoping to extend his lead with another Wimbledon. A ninth title there would equal Martina Navratilova's record number of titles at the All England Club.
But first, he will enjoy the Halle victory and some well earned time off. “First I want to enjoy this one. I want to take a couple of days off," Federer said. “I’m aware that usually when it went well for me here in Halle I’ve also had very successful Wimbledons.
I’m not sure if every time but this definitely sets it up nicely and next to winning I also feel good physically." With another 37-year-old, Feliciano Lopez, also winning at Queen's Club, it proved to be an excellent day for 37 year-olds collecting titles.
Age really does seem to be just a number in men's tennis. “So that’s also a big week and it’s always important at my age I think to prove myself that I can last five matches in six days and tough ones along the way and actually feel the best on Sunday. So from that standpoint I think it’s very positive”. Wimbledon main draw matches begin July 1.