MELBOURNE: Seven-time Grand Slam champion Mats Wilander has some advice for today's players as they struggle to keep up with Roger Federer - get into his head and under his skin.
Wilander, who dominated tennis in the mid 1980s, winning seven Grand Slam titles, said it was sad to see so many players almost expecting to lose to the World No. 1 and they needed to adopt more ruthless tactics. ``The other guys are actually not that sorry to lose to him, which I kind of miss a little bit,'' he said in the Melbourne Age.
``They're not doing everything within the rules to disturb him, like talk to him, or nudge him, or get in his head. Can you imagine John McEnroe not getting into Roger's head? No. Jimmy Connors. No. Boris Becker. No.
``I have to say he wins a lot of matches in the first 40 minutes and it just looks like 'Oh well, he's too good'. I think maybe you've got to find something to fuel you against Roger Federer because it ain't enough to just play tennis.''
Federer is the measuring stick for all his rivals on the men's tour and he has reigned as No 1 on the ATP rankings for almost two years.
With six major titles he is eight short of the record held by Pete Sampras, but such is his dominance of men's tennis that he is averaging two Grand Slams a year in his three years at the top.
Wilander said the advantage that Federer has is that he's not worried about how he's playing. ``When you're No.1, when you feel like you're the best player in the world, you are not worried about how you are playing,'' said the Swede, a former world number one himself.
``It doesn't boil down to tennis anyway, it boils down to the mental side, that's why you're number one.''
While Wilander has nothing but praise for Federer and the way he handles being No.1, he said he feared the 24-year-old could soon get sick of all the attention.
``I think it's possible he could get sick of the attention because he's too much of a regular guy to enjoy the attention,'' he said. - AFP