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Busted Racquet

Does Roger Federer have more pressure on him than Andy Murray?

Chris Chase
Busted Racquet

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(AP)

How big a deal is the 76-year British drought at Wimbledon? The English are willing to adopt a Scotsman as their own if it means snapping one of the most ignominious losing streaks in sports. (They have a saying in the UK: If Andy Murray wins, he's British. If he loses, he's Scottish.)

Murray is the biggest thing going in a nation 12 days out from hosting an Olympics. The Saltire will fly at Downing Street on Sunday. Kate Middleton will make a repeat appearance at Centre Court and people are legitimately upset that Queen Elizabeth and Prince William can't rearrange their schedules to be there too. Papers are printing front pages like this:

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It sounds crazy to ask, but is it possible that there's less pressure on Andy Murray than there is Roger Federer? At 30, Federer is looking to earn his record-tying seventh Wimbledon and ascend to No. 1, tying him with Pete Sampras with most weeks with the top ranking in history. Murray can tell himself that he'll have other opportunities to win at Wimbledon. Federer's clock is ticking.

So, is there more weight on Federer's shoulders on Sunday? Heck no. He's Roger Federer. While he may get the yips every now and then in big moments and sometimes can lose focus when he has a big lead, he's a mental rock. Federer failed to convert two match points in last year's US Open semifinal against Novak Djokovic and some wondered if he'd recover. All he did was win every match the rest of the year.

If there was a chance that Federer was in his own head and saw his tennis mortality coming up in the rear view, then maybe this theory would have some validity. There's no evidence either of those things is true.

The only place that Federer is greater than on the court is in his own mind. He doesn't believe this is his last, best chance to get to No. 1. He doesn't think that having to go through Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to win upcoming Grand Slams is an impossible task. Will he feel some pressure on Sunday? Sure, but not nearly enough as a man with the weight of a kingdom on his shoulders and three-quarters of a century worth of baggage accompanying him on his walk to Centre Court.

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