Beijing:After surrendering the silverware, aura and much more to Rafael Nadal in Wimbledon, Roger Federer simply cannot afford to lose focus in Beijing and the world number one on Thursday said he would not stay in the Olympic Village to avoid the constant attention from other athletes.
Tired of requests from athletes to pose with them or scribble on their autograph book, the tennis icon said enough is enough and he is moving out of the village. "It's impossible really, there are so many athletes asking for photos and so on. It is not ideal to prepare," Federer, who turns 27 on August 8, told reporters in Beijing.
"I'll go down once in a while to see other Swiss athletes," added the Swiss star, who would surrender the world number one spot to Nadal later this month. "Rafa has done well this year but my focus is on this tournament," said Federer, who was not too keen to dwell on contemporary tennis' most intriguing rivalry.
Instead, Federer waxed eloquence on how Olympic is as important as Wimbledon for him.
"To represent my country is very important for me. Olympics ranks right up there with the Grand Slams. It would mean as much as a Wimbledon victory to win gold. Ninety five percent of the top players are here and that shows we are very proud that tennis is part of the Olympics," Federer said.
"It's really a dream-come-true to be part of it, walking into the stadium at the opening ceremony. I am thrilled I get to carry the flag on my birthday and you can imagine what it means to me," he added.
Asked to choose between Olympic gold and a Grand Slam title to equal Pete Sampras' record 14, Federer said, "I want to win both. Right now I don't have to choose. I want to win the French Open, Olympic Games, other Grand Slams and try to break records."
Seeking to reduce the pressure of expectations on his shoulder, Federer said he would try his best but losing here would not mean end of all roads. "I really hope to win gold here, otherwise at Wimbledon 2012," he said.