Sixteen-time Grand Slam champion Roger Federer’s bid to equal Pete Sampras’ mark of seven Wimbledon titles this summer were dealt a blow by a shock straight-sets defeat to Tommy Haas in his preferred warm-up tournament in Halle.
The 30-year-old great has triumphed five times at the German grass-court event and has never before won Wimbledon after an unsuccessful participation in the competition.
The result therefore suggests that he will struggle to break down the growing Rafael Nadal-Novak Djokovic duopoly in the men’s game – the pair have contested the last four Grand Slam finals – at SW19, where he is rated a 9/2 third favourite.
It was Haas’ first victory over the former world number one for over a decade, the upset enhanced by his earlier claim to be mystified at progressing to the final past former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych and Philipp Kohlschreiber.
Though the German was boosted by home support in Halle, such a warm welcome might not be afforded to the wildcard at Wimbledon following his recent criticism of 8/1 fourth favourite Andy Murray’s alleged playacting.
He said of the British hope: “Sometimes he looks like he can barely move, then comes the trainer and then he moves like a cat. I believe everyone knows this now. People talk about it in the locker room.”
Over at the AEGON Championships at Queen’s, the star turns Murray and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga exited early, with the title eventually being claimed by Marin Cilic after a remarkable and unusual ending to his final with David Nalbandian.
The Argentine, a Wimbledon runner-up in 2002, was a set up but reacted to being broken to love in the second set for 3-4 by kicking an advertising board, an act which led to a line judge being accidentally injured, prompting his disqualification.
Cilic, who beat Sam Querrey in the semi-final, has never been past the fourth round at Wimbledon, and is consequently a 150/1 outsider still to take the trophy next month.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.