London, Jun 18: Roger Federer admits he feels so confident going into Wimbledon that he is already dreaming of lifting a record-equalling seventh trophy at his favourite Grand Slam.
Federer has arrived at Wimbledon in good spirits after missing the Halle tournament to recover from a groin injury suffered during his run to the French Open final.
After winning Wimbledon six times in his magnificent career, it is hardly surprising Federer relishes his trips to the All England Club and he already has a good feeling about his bid to draw level with Pete Sampras's record of seven Wimbledon titles in the Open era.
"There's always something on the line at this point when I play the Grand Slams. I know I could tie with Sampras here. It's obviously something very special and important at this point really," Federer said.
"For me if I close my eyes and think about Wimbledon, it's the moment when I lift the Wimbledon trophy. That's the picture I see the strongest.
"All the hard work during the year and then also in the preparation. Just staying focused and strong till the very end, to be able to lift up the trophy is a wonderful feeling."
Even though Federer's clay-court campaign finished in another defeat against Rafael Nadal in the French Open final, the Swiss star takes encouragement from ending Novak Djokovic's long winning run in the semi-finals in Paris.
"I'm happy about my game and I am happy it showed in Paris," Federer said. "I played a wonderful match against Novak, and also all the other matches before that were good. Obviously I come into this tournament very confident.
"I feel good about my body. The last week was vital for me to recover from my groin injury. I feel like I'm almost back at 100 percent again.
"It's funny. The first time I hit here at Wimbledon on Monday right away after 10 minutes it felt so natural for me to play on grass.
"I hope that feeling is going to pay off by going deep and then hopefully winning the tournament here.
"But I hope I get into the tournament a bit better than last year where I almost lost in the first round. That's the concern I have right now, not trying to break all these different records."
Although Federer, 29, is in a positive mood, the 16-time Grand Slam champion is realistic about the challenge he faces to win Wimbledon for the first time since 2009.
Federer's bid for a seventh Wimbledon crown ended in a surprise defeat against Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals last year and the world number three has failed to win a Grand Slam since then.
To end that barren run he will likely have to beat Djokovic in the semi-finals and his old rival Nadal in the final, with Queen's champion Andy Murray another potential final opponent.
"I just think all four guys at the top right now feel very comfortable on grass; whereas maybe in the beginning Rafa was still looking a little bit for how good he was on grass," Federer said.
"Murray's game is very natural for this surface. Djokovic has been nothing extraordinary yet on grass. But with the run he's on, obviously there's a lot of possibilities for him as well here.
"That's maybe something that's a bit different than maybe in the past, where maybe one of the top four guys wouldn't feel so comfortable on grass. Tthis year it seems like all of us are."
Federer has been drawn to face Kazakhstan's Mikhail Kukushkin in the first round but, with rain forecast for the early part of next week, he might have to play under the Centre Court roof for the first time.
"It will take some getting used to in the beginning," Federer said. "It will be interesting to see if once they close the roof it stays that way even if it becomes beautiful again in the afternoon or if they just use it to finish the match." AFP