LONDON (Reuters) - A year after Bjorn Borg wrote off Roger Federer’s chances of capturing the 2008 Wimbledon title, the Swedish great was once again backing the Swiss to triumph at the All England Club.
Borg tipped Rafael Nadal to win the grasscourt major 12 months ago and despite being proved right, his comments did not go down well with Federer.
But after the Swiss completed his collection of grand slam titles by triumphing at Roland Garros nine days ago, the Swede has once again switched his allegiance.
“Coming into Wimbledon I think he is relieved in a way that he won Paris, because that was one of his main ambitions, goals to try and win Paris,” Borg, who shares with Federer the professional era record of winning five successive Wimbledon titles, told Reuters Television on Tuesday.
“So coming into Wimbledon he feels very confident, he has equalled (Pete) Sampras’s record of 14 grand slams.
“We all know how Roger is playing on the grass, he plays unbelievable tennis on the grass. I think he is going to have a big challenge from Andy Murray, if I have to pick up two guys for this year’s Wimbledon I would pick Murray and Federer.”
Federer’s success in Paris made him only the sixth man to win all four majors. According to Borg, that put Federer on the summit when it came to deciding who was the best of all time.
“For me Roger is the greatest player ever who played the tennis game. It’s always good to see him play and win and we are going to see so much more of Federer in the future, he is going to win more grand slam tournaments.”
Former Wimbledon champion Martina Navratilova agreed.
“It’s a combination of how many grand slams have you won, how many tournaments have you won, how many years you were number one and he’s got all those combinations,” she said.
“The body of work is phenomenal and now he has got that French Open and I think he can just go on and sip Margaritas for the rest of his life.”
Navratilova, however, said she was concerned about Nadal.
The Spaniard, four-times French Open champion, lost in the fourth round at Roland Garros and is now struggling to get fit for Wimbledon.
While the rest of the world might have been surprised by Nadal’s Paris downfall, Navratilova was not.
“He burnt out both physically and mentally, he played too many tournaments in a row and it just got to him, physically and mentally,” said the American, who proved her longevity by playing top level tennis until just before her 50th birthday.
“He just didn’t look that happy on the court, never mind how he was playing.
“Like he was fired up, but it was like when he was trying to get excited in the match, he was trying to force himself into it, it didn’t seem to come with much joy.
“It’s when you are burnt out a little bit and it doesn’t take much and he plays such a physical game that when he is not 100 percent it makes a big difference.”
Writing by Pritha Sarkar; Editing by Ed Osmond