Part-time Roger too good

Eight ti­tles – and he wants more

The Daily Examiner - - SPORT DIGEST - Leo Sch­link in Lon­don

TEN­NIS: Roger Fed­erer has de­liv­ered the ul­ti­mate back­han­der to his ri­vals – he’s work­ing part-time and still win­ning grand slams.

Cel­e­brat­ing an eighth Wim­ble­don ti­tle, Fed­erer at­trib­uted an amaz­ing re­nais­sance to a lighter sched­ule.

“I love play­ing the big stages still. I don’t mind the prac­tice. I don’t mind the travel,” he said.

“Be­cause I’m play­ing a lit­tle less, I ac­tu­ally get more time in re­turn. I feel like I’m work­ing part-time these days al­most, which is a great feel­ing.

“What keeps me go­ing? I don’t know, I love to play. Won­der­ful team. My wife’s (Mirka) to­tally fine with me still play­ing. She’s my No.1 sup­porter. She’s amaz­ing.”

As Fed­erer rev­elled in a 19th ma­jor, the Swiss artist strug­gled to rec­on­cile the mag­ni­tude of his achieve­ment.

“Win­ning eight (ti­tles) is not some­thing you can ever aim for,” he said.

“If you do, you must have so much tal­ent and par­ents and the coaches that push you from the age of three on, who think you’re like a project.

“I was not that kid. I was just re­ally a nor­mal guy grow­ing up in Basel, hop­ing to make a ca­reer on the ten­nis tour.

“I guess I dreamed, I be­lieved, and re­ally hoped that I could ac­tu­ally maybe re­ally do it, you know, to make it real. So I put in a lot of work, and it paid off.”

Fed­erer, 35, bat­ted away sug­ges­tions he had con­tested his fi­nal Wim­ble­don, just as he did at Jan­uary’s Aus­tralian Open.

“Hon­estly, ever since I had the year I had last year, I do think prob­a­bly like a year ahead of time with my sched­ule, fit­ness sched­ule, tour­na­ments I would like to play,” he said.

“So I to­tally see my­self play­ing here this time next year.

“But be­cause it’s far away, be­cause of what hap­pened (knee in­jury) last year, I just like to take the op­por­tu­nity to thank the peo­ple in the very mo­ment, and make them un­der­stand, yes, I hope that I’m back.

“There’s never a guar­an­tee, es­pe­cially not at 35, 36. But the goal is def­i­nitely to be here again next year to try and de­fend.

“Wim­ble­don was al­ways my favourite tour­na­ment, will al­ways be my favourite tour­na­ment.

“My he­roes walked the grounds here and walked the courts here. Be­cause of them, I think I be­came a bet­ter player, too.

“To make his­tory here at Wim­ble­don re­ally means a lot to me just be­cause of all of that re­ally. It’s that sim­ple.

“Funny enough, I didn’t think that much of it through­out to­day, through­out the tro­phy cer­e­mony.

“I was more just so happy that I was able to win Wim­ble­don again be­cause it’s been a long road, it’s been an ex­cit­ing road. It’s been tough at times, but that’s how it’s sup­posed to be.

“So to be Wim­ble­don cham­pion for an en­tire year now is some­thing I can’t wait to savour and just en­joy. So it was su­per spe­cial.

“No eight ob­vi­ously means a lot to me be­cause at that level, to be part of Wim­ble­don his­tory, is truly amaz­ing.”

PHOTO: CLIVE BRUN­SKILL/GETTY

AGE DOES NOT WEARY HIM: Fed­erer holds the Wim­ble­don men’s sin­gles tro­phy again.

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