‘Will this be the last time I see him?’ I wondered as I trod the familiar route down Wimbledon Park Road on Monday. I was off to see Roger Federer – a month away from his fortieth birthday – taking on Lorenzo Sonego in the fourth round. There were two other matches scheduled on Centre Court – Novak Djokovic against Cristian Garin, and 17-year-old Coco Gauff against the former number one Angelique Kerber – but both felt almost beside the point. That’s the danger with extreme partisanship: it can suck the excitement out of everything else. When I watch other players, I judge them by Federer’s standards. And no one measures up.
Everyone I know hates him, but – God forgive me – I go a bit gooey for Andy Murray. Usually I can hide it well enough but there he was last week, topless, on the cover of granny's favourite listings magazine. And there again, winning Queen's and ripping his knuckle-skin on his racket strings. And then there, winning his first round match at Wimbledon and slagging off all the other British players for being damp squibs.