Federer's secret to longevity: Mastering his body & mind

Roger Federer is one of the most important examples in terms of longevity. At 35, the Swiss continues to be competitive and manages to improve despite he is not young anymore and the next generation has come. On Tennis Smash website, Federer revealed the secrets that allow him to be competitive against the best players.

The Australian Open champion shares thoughts on health, fitness and maintaining a fresh mental approach:

You’ve got to love the game, because if you don’t love it, then it’s just going to be too hard. I think that’s kept me going quite easily actually, because I know why I’m playing tennis. Deep down that’s really important.

It’s not easy to win Slams. That means I’ve done something quite extraordinary for many seasons. I play a full schedule from January to November. I will keep on doing that, listening to my body, trying to be smart about what I need to do to play well when I really want to play well. That doesn’t always mean just majors, but obviously it’s a big part of our game.

I always make sure I have enough breaks, enough holidays, build up, tournaments, practice. The whole thing needs to come together. Maybe it’s tricky coming back the first couple of matches, but once you’re in, it’s a big advantage you had time off. It’s not easy to sit on the sidelines to see four, eight to 10 guys winning tournaments while you’re sitting at home working out. Working out doesn’t give you a whole lot of points.

You have to listen to the signals of your body. There are different ways you can stay healthy. Then every player has their own secrets or routines that work. Some just get unlucky, like Tommy Haas or Jo-Wilfried Tsonga maybe early on. You have a bad back operation at 21. Could he have avoided that? I don’t know. From then on, it’s just a fragile body maybe. That’s why it’s important to get professional early.

It’s a good thing to work out and to eat healthy. That’s what I do. I never have to be too careful with my diet. I think when it gets dangerous is when you get injured and you can’t practise as much and you keep on eating the same amount. I eat very healthy to start with. That helps of course to not get any bigger and heavier, even though heavier means stronger, but not all the time.

Things are a bit different today than they were 10 years ago. The emphasis on fitness changed just because you’re more careful not to get injured. So sometimes less is more. Quality is more important than quantity. Whereas when you’re younger, you got to put in the hours, you got to put in the work.

Eventually you have experience. You know what you need to get ready for a tournament, in the off-season, what you need to do. So clearly I’ve made mistakes and made right decisions over the years. You try to put them all together, assemble all those pieces and make it work.

The goal was always to play for a long time. I’m happy I’m still going and I’m happy that my kids occasionally come to watch me play. So, yeah, I definitely think family life has had a positive effect on me as a person and my life, as a player. My relationship with my wife, it’s been wonderful. So, yeah, we’ll see how much longer I’ll play.

Date: 14 February 2017, Source: Tennis Smash


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