ROGER Federer will begin his quest for a first Olympic singles medal at Wimbledon this weekend back on top of the world but for once not as Switzerland’s flag bearer.

The 30-year-old has carried his country’s flag at the opening ceremony at the past two Olympics and was offered the chance to make it a prestigious hat-trick but chose to allow one of his countrymen the experience instead.

And tonight Stanislas Wawrinka, who partnered Federer to Olympic doubles gold in Beijing, will walk into the Olympic Stadium at the head of his country’s team.

Explaining his decision, Federer said: ‘‘Carrying the flag for me was something I never expected. It was a huge honour in my life to be able to represent Switzerland like that.

‘‘I’ve done it twice and it would have been amazing to do it a third time but I just felt it was important to give someone else a chance. In Switzerland we believe that.’’ Olympic singles gold is the one major individual honour to have eluded Federer, with his best performance coming in Sydney in 2000, when he finished fourth.

After his seventh Wimbledon triumph earlier this month, which took him back to number one in the world, and in the absence of injured Beijing gold medallist Rafael Nadal, Federer is favourite.

In the first round Federer will face Colombia’s Alejandro Falla, who he almost lost to in the opening round at Wimbledon two years ago.

Second seed Novak Djokovic, who meets Italy’s Fabio Fognini in round one, is in the bottom half of the draw along with third seed Andy Murray, while Spain’s David Ferrer is scheduled to meet Federer in the semi-finals.

Although the tournament is taking place at the All England Club, there are key differences from Wimbledon, the most important being matches will be best of three sets until the final, which is best of five.

Heather Watson goes into the Olympics as the British number one and heading firmly in the right direction.

Watson will fancy her chances of winning at least one round back on the Wimbledon grass at the Olympic tournament after being drawn against Spain’s Silvia Soler Espinosa in the first round. Of the three British women in the singles draw, Keothavong has by far the toughest task against eighth seed.