Federer, Serena in spotlight

Murray banking on Olympic success to break Grand Slam duck

Federer, Serena in spotlight

 Twelve months ago, Roger Federer went into the US Open with doubts, perhaps for the first time in his career.

A year on and the Swiss is back on top of the world rankings, the Wimbledon champion and chomping at the bit for a sixth title at Flushing Meadows.

“I felt good last year but probably felt that at times the matches were not always on my racquet,” Federer told reporters on Saturday.

“This time around I feel like if I'm playing well I can dictate who's going to win or lose. It's going to take something special from my opponent to win.”

“That's how it feels right now; then again, I might walk away from Monday having lost in the first round.”

In each of the past two years, Federer has lost to Novak Djokovic in the semifinals, failing to convert two match points on each occasion.

The Swiss said tough losses at the French Open and Wimbledon may have knocked his usually supreme confidence.

“Maybe I did come into the US Open with a few losses that already maybe shook me up a little bit,” he said. “But I knew at the US Open I usually play so, so well, and then everything went great.

“I had a great campaign into the semis and two sets to love up, match points as well. It was just not meant to be.”

His victory over Andy Murray at Wimbledon last month gave him a record 17th Grand Slam title. Murray gained a measure of revenge by beating him to win the Olympic title but having regained the number one ranking from Djokovic, Federer believes he is in the form to win again.

“If you look back at the results I had the last, let's say two years, I was actually extremely close on many occasions to give myself chances to win Slams. I'm just happy how I'm playing. I already reached my goal for the year becoming world number one, getting Wimbledon again and getting a medal for Switzerland.

It's been incredible. Murray, in the same half of the draw as Federer, and Djokovic will once again be Federer’s challengers. Murray will look to build on his Olympic success while Djokovic will be keen to return to the top after falling short in the French Open as well as Wimbledon.

Defending champion Djo-kovic said he felt "physically stronger and better prepared" than ever going into the event. The world number two, who lost the top spot and his Wimbledon title when he was beaten by Federer in the semifinals last month, has won the last three hard-court grand slam events.

Serena favoured
In the women’s event, Serena Williams is the favourite after a superb year in which she has won the Wimbledon and the Olympic gold medal.
Williams suffered a shock defeat to Samantha Stosur last year but she looks in great form this season.

French Open champion Maria Sharapova would hope to challenge the American but after the way in which she was swatted aside at the Olympic Games, not many would fancy the Russian’s chances.

Australian Open champion Victoria Azarenka and Petra Kvitova are the other challengers while former champion Kim Clijsters will be looking for a fairytale finish to her career, having decided to hang up her racquets after the New York bash.

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