Fed's birthday to remember
"Olympics ranks right up there with the grand slams," says world number one
Last Updated: 07/08/08 9:24am
Federer: Dream come true
Roger Federer is set to have a 27th birthday to remember, the tennis star having been chosen to carry Switzerland's flag in the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games in Beijing on Friday.
It will be the second time Federer has carried the Swiss flag, having also had the honour in Athens. However, he failed to prosper on court four years ago and was knocked out of the competition in the second round.
But, according to the player who is set to lose his status as world number one to Rafael Nadal later in the month, going all the way this time would rank alongside victory at Wimbledon.
"To represent my country is very important for me," said Federer, who also finished fourth in Sydney in 2000. "To carry the flag is one of the achievements you only dream about. It was one of the great moments in my career.
"The Olympics ranks right up there with the grand slams. It's a different feeling because you are carrying your country as well so that adds extra pressure and the Olympic Games being such a big event, that grows on you and increases pressure.
"It would mean as much as a Wimbledon victory to win gold.
"95% of the top players are here and that shows we are very proud that tennis is part of the Olympics. It has definitely increased in value on the tennis tour."
Asked whether he would prefer to win Olympic gold or another grand slam to edge him closer to Pete Sampras' record of 14, Federer added: "Both. Right now I don't have to choose. I want to the win the French Open, Olympic Games, other grand slams and try to break records.
"It's great to be part of the history books. I really hope I can win gold here, otherwise at Wimbledon 2012. The Olympic games is like Wimbledon to me.
"It's really a dream come true to be part of it, walking into the stadium at the opening ceremony.
"This is very, very special. I am thrilled I get to carry the flag on my birthday and you can imagine what it means to me."