Venus Williams and Roger Federer go into Wimbledon seeking singles title number six at the All England Club and casting aside any thoughts of retirement.
Venus is third seed behind world number one Dinara Safina and her sister Serena, but is bidding for a hat-trick on her favorite grass. Federer is seeking to regain the title he won every year from 2003 until beaten by injury-absentee Rafael Nadal in an epic five-set final last year. Venus, who turned 29 last week, has shrugged off talk of retirement and told Press Association on Sunday that he hopes to compete until at least the 2012 Olympics where the tennis will be held at Wimbledon. “I still think I’m capable of playing here for many years to come – I hope so, at least. “I’m going to be 30 next year, so why not I do see myself coming back and I see myself coming here in Olympics year, 2012, which really isn’t that far off. To win more gold medals would be incredible, that’s my favorite event.” Venus, who could meet her sister in a repeat of last year’s final, also has half an eye on the all-time Wimbledon record of nine singles titles by Martina Navratilova. “Everyone asks about Martina’s number: her achievements are amazing but I have my own achievements. It’s not like I’m aiming to go higher than her — it’s just all about what I can achieve.” By coincidence, Federer recently told CNN that he was determined to win singles gold in London in 2012 and wanted to play on for several more years. “I love the game too much to walk away from it,” he said. “My wife wants me to play on for many more years so our child can see me play, that has been a big dream. “Definitely until the 2012 Olympics in London, which will be held at Wimbledon.”
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World number two Federer will beat the all-time grand slam record of 14 held by Pete Sampras if he can confirm his favoritism over the next fortnight. Federer is fully aware that home hope Andy Murray, the second highest seed after Nadal’s withdrawal, represents the biggest obstacle to his sixth Wimbledon title, having won the pre-Wimbledon event at Queen’s Club. “He’s a great tactician, I like to watch him play,” said Federer. “He’s a very tough challenge. “I thought he handled the pressure very well last year. He also handled it in Queen’s.” Federer opens the championships on Centre Court on Monday with a first round match against Yen-Hsun Lu.