London - Lleyton Hewitt, the last man to win Wimbledon
outside the big four, tipped Roger Federer to face Andy Murray in this year's
final, though Marin Cilic could break their stranglehold.
Hewitt won Wimbledon in 2002, before Federer won the first
of his seven titles, interspersed with three wins by Novak Djokovic and two
each from Rafael Nadal and Murray.
The Australian former world number one said Murray and
Federer were both experts at managing their bodies and stepping up a level when
pushed by their opponents.
But the 36-year-old did not rule out Croatia's seventh seed
Cilic, the 2014 US Open champion, causing an upset.
"Murray and Federer are my two favourites. Novak is
going through the draw nicely and quietly but Cilic has come through unscathed
and his section of the draw opens up with Nadal out," Hewitt told
"Federer's looking pretty good. I wouldn't rule Murray
out. I'd love to see that final."
In Wednesday's quarter-finals, defending champion Murray
faces Sam Querrey and Nadal's conqueror Gilles Muller plays Cilic, while in the
bottom half of the draw, Federer takes on Milos Raonic, while Djokovic could
face Tomas Berdych.
Hewitt said it was extraordinary to think that when
35-year-old Federer took over from him in 2003, he would still be competing for
the Wimbledon title 14 years later - and looking none the worse for it.
"He's not playing that different. This year, the way he
played in Australia was pretty incredible - after six months out he can flick a
switch and start lighting it up again," Hewitt said of Federer's title run
in Melbourne in January.
"He looks after his body so well. Roger has an uncanny
knack of being able to step it up when he needs to," he said, citing his
fourth round demolition of Grigor Dimitrov on Monday when he "took it to
Meanwhile Hewitt said world number one Murray's handling of
his hip injury and overcoming his lack of grass-court warm-up matches had been
"If you look at Andy walking around he looks pretty
sore. But he finds a way. He does everything right. It's not easy turning up of
you're the defending champion and under a little bit of an injury cloud.
"Now he's played himself into form. Querrey is a tough
player but it's a good match-up for Andy, then Rafa Nadal's out of the section
- does that open up against Cilic or Muller? Andy handles those big servers
well with his returns."
Hewitt, who also won the 2001 US Open, knows a thing or two
about the tail end of a Grand Slam. He said the atmosphere was odd, as a
tournament that started with 128 players in each draw comes down to the final
two or four.
"Always the end of Grand Slams is a strange feeling
because in the first week, it's such a big buzz around the players' areas, so
busy, but by the semi-finals and finals there's very few people around.
"But the buzz is around the grounds."