Checking in with Federer, Murray, Nadal and Wawrinka

LONDON -- Roger Federer threw out this little bomb Saturday at his pre-Wimbledon news conference:

"Yeah, it's probably been the best preparation I've ever had for Wimbledon," the seven-time champion said. "I can totally pace myself, which is huge in an athlete's career and life."

He was referring chiefly to the extra week that was added between the French Open and Wimbledon, but he was also reflecting on the place his mind and body occupy at the moment -- an exceedingly good place. Federer, who turns 34 in August, took some time off after Roland Garros, but still got to Halle, Germany, earlier than usual and won the tournament for the eighth time. Two days later, he arrived here at the All England Club and put in three days of hard work.

Saturday, outside of his media commitments, was an off day. He'll resume practice Sunday in preparation for his first-round match Tuesday against Damir Dzumhur.

"Winning Halle has given me the extra confidence I guess it's going to take me to win this title here," Federer said.

Wimbledon has always been the tournament Federer prizes above all others. He reiterated that feeling in Halle, saying it's the major he wants to win the most, and the one that affords him the best opportunity to do so. His last major triumph came here three years ago.

Last year, Federer came tantalizingly close to winning his 18th major at Wimbledon, but fell to Novak Djokovic in a five-set final. Saturday, he said there would be no residual effect either way.

"I'm not sure that last year's finals actually does anything to my performance this year," Federer said. "If it does something, it goes to show that last year, I was playing well. I wasn't playing great, and I made the finals.

"To be honest, I was still somewhat on the way back, but things went faster than I thought they would. Whereas, this year, I feel my game is better. I've gotten used to the [new Wilson] racket. This is not the first time I'm at Wimbledon with [coach] Stefan Edberg. The work I've put in with Severin [Luthi], my coach, I could really aim for Wimbledon this year."

Federer was joined in the interview room by nine other top-shelf stars (Djokovic speaks Sunday). Here are more highlights from the men's side:

Andy Murray

He's only 28, but Murray is already learning to savor the sweet spots, before it's too late.

"You do start to reflect a little bit more on previous years, that's for sure," said Murray, a two-time Grand Slam champion. "Yeah, I mean, I realized a little bit when I had my [2013] back surgery, when I was going through that. ... The first sort of nine months of last year were very, very difficult and I wasn't enjoying it so much.

"I kind of realized at the end of last year that I don't know if I'll ever get the chance to play at the top level again, so I need to do everything possible that I can, my training, [to] really dedicate myself 100 percent to the time I have left."

Video: Highlights from Murray's news conference

Rafael Nadal

The two-time Wimbledon champion, who hasn't advanced past the fourth round in the past three years, is feeling good about himself after winning recently on the grass in Stuttgart.

"I won a tournament on grass after five years, a good moment for me and a special one," he said. "I am practicing well this week. Let's see if I am able to compete well then later. [I am] just happy to be here.

"[I'm] healthy, that's the most important thing. Last year, I was better after 2012 and '13 that I couldn't play well here -- too much problems on the knees. ... But it is good to be healthy on the second most important surface in my career, without any doubt."

Video: Highlights from Nadal's news conference

Stan Wawrinka

Those gaudy, red-and-white plaid-ish shorts that caused a fashion sensation at Roland Garros won't be making an appearance at the All England Club, where white is the primary color. But the two-time Grand Slam champion hinted there may be some dramatic alterations coming later this summer.

"Now we back to normal, back to all white," Wawrinka said with a smile. "I honestly think it was supposed to be something similar to the US Open, the color. But they have a change in mind and they might change completely."

Wawrinka won the French Open earlier this month, a tournament in which he had previously reached only one quarterfinal in his career. Well, guess what? He's been to only one quarterfinal here, where he lost to Federer last year in four sets.

"Every year it's been better for me," Wawrinka said. "I think since three years now, I feel really good. Again, I think I still feel grass is good for me. It's important to be ready, to feel good physically, to move well. So far it's been OK."