Roger Federer credits a dedication to conditioning as one of the main reasons for his longevity in tennis.
After reaching a 36th consecutive Grand Slam quarterfinal at the French Open and setting up a date with Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, the 31-year-old Swiss will count more than ever on his fitness.
For Federer, keeping his body in the best shape possible is job one.
“I remember very vividly the conversation I had with my conditioning coach.
“We said we still need the periods where we need to work out a lot, where you cannot go chase the money, the tournaments, the whatever it may be, the red carpet events. You can do some of it, but clearly it’s right there in front of you,” he said.
“It’s very important to not forget the big picture. I think I have been on that (focus) for almost 10 years,” said the holder of the all-time record of 17 Grand Slam singles titles.
Federer has had setbacks over the seasons, including a slight case of glandular fever and occasional back problems, But his worries are nothing like those of his main rivals, especially Rafael Nadal (knees) and Andy Murray (back).
“All these things make you reconsider all your decisions, I’ve had to take tough ones.
“I have had to sometimes not play for a long time and decide not to play Davis Cup sometimes, and made other decisions, you know, which I thought were important for my longevity.”
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Like his fellow over-30 and namesake Tommy Haas, Spain’s Tommy Robredo is living his second tennis life after injury, with the number 34 aiming at his fifth career quarter-final at the French Open.
Robredo made history as only the second man to ever win three straight matches by coming from two sets to love down, but is not prone to dwelling either on his achievements or in the past.
The 31-year-old is finding devastating form now that he’s settled into ATP life once again after a February 2011 operation to mend an adductor muscle tear.
“I never thought about it. I was just trying to work every tournament and to play my best and enjoy the tour.
Being in the quarter-finals again, it’s amazing, and also, with three comebacks the way I did, it’s amazing, also,” he said.
“I never thought I’m going to be here, I’m going to be there. I was just focussed to try to come back, and I did it.
“I’m not thinking anymore about what I had, the injury, the surgery or whatever.
“I’m just trying to enjoy day by day and, well, I’m doing it.” — DPA