Wimbledon: Roger Federer is thrilled to be defending his crown
Last Updated: 24/06/13 7:52am
Seven-time champion Roger Federer is relishing returning to Wimbledon to defend his title.
The Swiss master, 31, overcame home favourite Andy Murray in last year's final and admits the All England Club holds a special place in his heart.
"I'm just happy to be here and happy to be defending the title as of now," he said. "I can talk about that if I've won the tournament, but not right before. I know the road is hard, but it is possible. I'm looking forward to the challenge.
"I can talk about that if I've won the tournament, but not right before. I know the road is hard, but it is possible. I'm looking forward to the challenge."
"I can't believe it's been this successful and this nice in the process. I've really enjoyed myself on tour. I've made many friends. I started a foundation. I've continued to be successful.
"I've played so many matches where I went through so many incredible moments. I'm forever grateful to this first Wimbledon title I was able to achieve here.
"It's all happened a bit too fast for my liking, but I'm happy I'm still playing and continuing to give myself opportunities to be contending for the title here.
"And being back as well 10 years later as defending champion is quite unique at the same time, so I'm very excited."
At the 2002 tournament, Federer was ousted in the first round by Croatian Mario Ancic and he recalled: "Ten years ago I was incredibly scared to lose again in the first round. I lost in the first round of the French Open as well so I came in with a lot of pressure and having to prove myself.
"So every year that has gone by and every year I did well here, my nerves calmed down. I knew that actually grass is my best surface or one of my best surfaces, whereas early on in your career you're not sure because the grass-court season is so incredibly short.
"Today I know what it takes, which is a good thing. The excitement is the same. I'm still hungry and wanting to win and wanting to prove how good I can play.
"Then you want to relive those incredible moments you've had 10 years ago, nine years ago, eight years ago, where you have that honour to play on Centre Court either on opening day or on finals day.
"You can play for the championship. It's really something that means the world to me."