Federer hits slam landmark as Nadal urges patience for challengers
There looked to be no stopping the big names in the Wimbledon men’s draw on Saturday as Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal laid down markers.
Wimbledon great Roger Federer gave a modest response to becoming the first player to win 350 singles grand slam matches on Saturday.
Federer defeated Lucas Pouille 7-5 6-2 7-6 (7-4) on Centre Court to bring up the milestone.
But while Billie Jean King dedicated a Twitter post to the Swiss, describing him as “this GOAT”, Federer himself preferred to explain why the achievement was slightly biased.
“The records mean something to me but not everything just because I am very much aware that not everybody for the last 100 years played all the slams,” he said.
“It’s really only the last 20 years that that’s been going on. Travelling has gotten easier. I’m sure that’s going to keep happening from now on, most of the players will keep playing.”
— Billie Jean King (@BillieJeanKing) July 6, 2019
Federer was at least positive about his performance, though, adding: “I’m very happy how it’s going so far. I thought it was a good match with Lucas.
“Of course, I hope it’s going to take a special performance from somebody to stop me, not just a mediocre performance. I’m happy that I’m able to raise my level of play.”
NADAL: CHALLENGERS NEED TIME…
It is a question that is asked of Nadal, Federer and Novak Djokovic time and again. Who can end their dominant reign?
There was certainly no sign of Nadal slowing on Saturday as he blitzed Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 6-2 6-3 6-2, although the Spaniard acknowledged the end is nearing for the big three after a “special” stretch.
“There are a couple of very good players on the Tour. Yeah, a couple of young ones,” he said. “They need some time.
“I don’t know. For me, it is not easy to answer this question because I am part of it. It is difficult to have clear answer.
“Honestly, what we have achieved in the grand slams, in tennis in general, during the last 14, 15 years, is something special. To have three players that achieved that much is something difficult to repeat because we played more or less at the same time.
“But here we are. Of course, somebody is going to come and beat us or we are going to leave because we are not young anymore.”
…AND SOUSA TAKES IT
This might not be quite what Nadal meant. His next opponent Joao Sousa was the last man off the court on Saturday after being taken to five sets by Briton Dan Evans.
An entertaining match might have enthused the two-time champion in more ways than one as the contest dragged on in draining fashion until Sousa won 4-6 6-4 7-5 4-6 6-4 in three hours and 56 minutes, becoming the first-ever Portuguese player to reach the last 16.
— Wimbledon (@Wimbledon) July 6, 2019
SANDGREN SETS UP ALL-AMERICAN CLASH
Tennys Sandgren and Sam Querrey, two Americans, will face each other in the next round following impressive wins.
Sandgren kept his composure as opponent Fabio Fognini lost his cool, extraordinarily ranting about a wish to see Wimbledon bombed, while Querrey’s superb form continued against John Millman.
A third American fell by the way side as Kei Nishikori breezed past Steve Johnson, though.
Matteo Berrettini will play Federer, with Mikhail Kukushkin also through.