Two-and-a-half years have passed since Roger Federer claimed his 16th and most recent Grand Slam title, however by reaching the quarter-finals of every one since and six semi-finals, the Swiss legend remains a threat.
Doubt over whether he can still beat the two most dominant men on the tour, Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal, on such a stage persist though, enhanced by the fact that his last three were won when others had taken care of those two.
That explains why, even on his favoured grass courts, Federer finds himself some way short of the pair at 9/2 to win Wimbledon in a market led by Djokovic at 7/4, with French Open winner Nadal right behind at 2/1.
But former British number one and four-time Wimbledon semi-finalist Tim Henman, one of the few to have defeated the six-time champion there, has argued that the dire weather currently gripping the nation could work in the 30-year-old’s favour.
As one of the event’s greatest attractions, the majority of Federer’s matches are likely to take place on centre court where, if the rain starts wreaking havoc, the retractable roof comes into play.
And while Federer’s latter-round influence at Grand Slams has waned lately, he has developed a niche as the standout indoor performer following convincing triumphs last November at the Paris Masters and World Tour Finals in Greenwich.
With the forecast suggesting that large chunks of the tournament, which begins on Monday, could be contested in such circumstances, Henman believes that this may be Federer’s best chance to level Pete Sampras’ tally of seven Wimbledon titles.
Henman also dismissed fears that the world number three’s age – he turns 31 in August – prevents him from competing with Djokovic and Nadal.
He said: “He’s in phenomenal shape. His hunger and desire are as great as anyone’s. Andre Agassi made the final of the US Open at 35, and he was nothing like as natural an athlete as Roger.”
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.