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Murray: don't write off Federer

Andy Murray has backed Roger Federer to be a force at Wimbledon again and thinks it will be a long time before anyone gets close to the Swiss great's grand slam quarter-final record.

One of the most dramatic days in Wimbledon history had a sting in the tail when defending champion Federer was bundled out in the second round by Ukrainian Sergiy Stakhovsky.

Yesterday's loss was the first time Federer had gone out before the quarter-finals of a slam since the French Open in 2004, a run of 36 tournaments in a row, and his earliest exit since before he won the first of his 17 slam titles at Wimbledon in 2003.

Novak Djokovic is on a run of 16 consecutive grand slam quarter-finals, but if the Serbian is to equal Federer's record, let alone beat it, he will have to maintain his streak for another five years.

Murray said: "I think that will stand for a long time, I don't see anyone breaking that for a good while.

"Records are always there to be beaten but it will take a long time for someone to do that. Novak is the closest and he wouldn't be able to do it for about five or six years."

Federer turns 32 next month and it seems clear the great man's powers are on the wane.

He has won only one grand slam title in three-and-a-half years, beating Murray in last year's Wimbledon final, and he is only fifth in the Champions Race, which shows the best players of the season.

Federer has set his sights on playing until at least the Rio Olympics in 2016, and Murray is not about to write off a man who has won seven Wimbledon titles from having further success at the All England Club.

"I'm sure he'll be a threat, no doubt," said the world number one. "It's just one shock result. He'll be back."

After shock exits for Federer and Rafael Nadal, and withdrawals through injury by Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Marin Cilic, Murray's path to the final has been cleared of all major opponents.

There are still dangers lurking, in particular 6ft 8in Jerzy Janowicz, and, after the results of the first three days, Murray will not be taking anyone lightly.

He admitted he is more wary, saying: "It's a good reminder that you need to be ready for every match and take nothing for granted."

Murray believes the shock results say more about how extraordinary the level of the top players has been than an increasing threat from the rest of the field.

He said: "I just think that the consistency of the top players - for Roger and Rafa it's been about 10 years, Novak for four or five years - has been something that tennis I don't think has really seen before.

"I don't think that was because of the depth of the men's game or there not being depth in the men's game. I just think the consistency of playing at a high level from the top players has been incredible.

"But that is not going to last forever. When guys have slight dips in form, some of the younger guys start to improve and raise their level, then that's going to be tough to maintain for a long period.

"There's been a lot of depth in the men's game for a long time. I think it's just now the results are starting to show that."

Murray practised at Aorangi Park today with 18-year-old fellow Briton Kyle Edmund, who lost in the first round to Janowicz on his senior Wimbledon debut earlier this week.

Unlike so many of his rivals, Murray's progress so far has been untroubled, and tomorrow he takes on Spanish 32nd seed Tommy Robredo in the third round.

The pair have met four times before, splitting the honours, but Murray has won the last two and they have not faced each other since 2009.

Robredo, 31, had been dogged by injury problems and missed the first half of last season, including Wimbledon, sliding down to 471st in the rankings.

But he has been in excellent form this year and reached the quarter-finals of the French Open earlier this month.

Murray said: "He's a tough player. He had a good win against (Nicolas) Mahut, who has been playing well on the grass. He's very, very experienced. He's extremely fit. He won three matches in a row at the French from two sets to love down. He fights right until the last point.

"Last year he had some injury problems. When he's not injured, he's been in the top 20 in the world for a number of years. He knows how to win tennis matches. So it's a tough match for me."

While Robredo is certainly a very good player, he is much more at home on clay than grass and has never been past the third round at Wimbledon.

If he had his way, Robredo hinted he would rip up the turf at Wimbledon and lay down clay.

The Spaniard said: "Obviously I don't like to play on grass. Sometimes in life you have to do things where you are not that comfortable. If I could change it, I would put clay on the court all the time. But here they want to play on grass."

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