It's only when you've sat down with Roger Federer that you realise quite how big that beaming smile can be. Oh it looks impressive enough on the telly, but in person it's like a tungsten bulb.

I suspect we're going to see a good deal more of it in the next fortnight, too, because that smile is Federer's secret weapon.

It's what makes you think he's not all that bothered about winning an eighth Wimbledon title when in reality it's what he craves.

He currently shares the record, of course, with Pete Sampras on seven titles each and since he drew level in 2012 there's several times I've been lucky enough to chat to him as part of a small group of reporters when he's always insisted that an eighth one would be neither here nor there.

That's part of his defence mechanism to try to take the pressure off himself. He knows that it is only by keeping relaxed that he can get all those beautiful, flowing shots to come to the fore.

I wasn't in Halle last week, but people I've spoken to who were there tell me that the smile was beaming big time. He did all the interviews he was requested, he chatted to sponsors, he signed autographs, he posed for selfies.

He did a nice line in self-deprecating humour, too. Asked about his first round defeat in Stuttgart, when he went down to 39-year-old world number 302 Tommy Haas in his first grass court appearance of the season, he told everybody: "I do think I can win matches on this surface."

Then to prove it, when it came to the time to be on the court, he put his 'A' game on show as he brushed away the challenge of all comers before beating highly rated Alexander Zverev to win his ninth Halle title, his 92nd of all in his career, in his 140th final.

It's why as Wimbledon approaches this weekend Federer is now the clear 3.45 favourite to hold the trophy aloft on Centre Court on July 16th.

His plan to miss the clay court season was always a good one. It's ironic that Federer more than any other player led the campaign to add an extra week between the French Open and Wimbledon to give more chance to adapt to the different surfaces - and now he's the one not even attempting the chalk and cheese transition.

But that's another example of the one-eyed commitment once he has put a target in his mind. His remarkable victory in the Australian Open showed he's learned how to bring his fitness to peak perfectly for a Grand Slam fortnight, and he will doubtless bring the same sort of stamina to SW19.

There can't have been a summer when so many of the other big players have arrived at Wimbledon with so many doubts. Andy Murray is 5.50 second favourite to defend his title but his first-round exit at Queen's was a significant blow. Novak Djokovic 8.40 is in Eastbourne fishing to find some form. Rafael Nadal 5.90 continues to have intermittent problems with his knees.

No wonder, while they all have worries, Roger just goes on smiling.

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