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Federer Welcomes Sampras Backing

Dubai, U.A.E.

Federer© Getty ImagesRoger Federer has enjoyed a strong start to 2014 with his new racquet.

Pete Sampras recently said he could see Roger Federer adding to his record haul of 17 Grand Slam championships, with Wimbledon the most likely stage for another major triumph. Another victory at the All England Club would see Federer surpass Sampras’ record of seven Wimbledon titles, but the Swiss also feels it is in reach.

Speaking after his first-round win at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships on Monday, Federer said, “I'm happy he's being positive about my game. I think it does say something. It counts. It gives me extra confidence to know that someone like him believes in me, is in my corner, and I can always call him up and ask him for any advice. I don't want to break his records necessarily. That's not what I'm playing for. I'm playing for myself, for my team, for my country, you name it. 

“I'm happy things are going better now again this year.”

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Indeed, one of the reasons Federer has enjoyed so much success at the start of 2014 – reaching the Brisbane final and the Australian Open semi-finals – is credited with his new racquet. Federer began playing with the new frame at the start of the season and is reaping the rewards.

“I did have times [in the past] where maybe I didn't serve so well or I struggled with my backhand, with the timing and so forth. Now, I feel like even on a bad day, I have the power on the serve, and I do hit my backhand easier. It's just important that I can do it consistently at the most important stages of the match in the biggest matches and that my forehand is clutch when I need it. I think that's really what I expect from the racquet, and so far it's been very good.”

Confidence in his body and the new racquet have also delivered to Federer a new-found freedom on the tennis court. Travelling the world with his family, Federer revealed he is enjoying his tennis more than ever.

“In the beginning it's kind of nice being the outsider,” reflected the Swiss, when asked about the pressure of playing as favourite in nearly every match he approaches. “Then it's nice being the guy everybody is sort of chasing. Now my situation is comfortable too. I feel like I am enjoying myself out on the court. I don't get too carried away or too nervous necessarily every single match. I don't get stomach cramps like I used to when I was younger. It's a bit more enjoyable now these days.”

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