The Sunday Mail (Queensland)

Fed­erer get­ting bet­ter with age

- ANNA CALD­WELL

ROGER Fed­erer is look­ing like the man time for­got as he charges into the US Open this week in a bid to clinch a his­toric 18th ma­jor tour­na­ment vic­tory.

As the Swiss star spent yesterday in a chop­per breez­ing over the heights of Man­hat­tan, his on-court re­nais­sance was the buzz of the men’s tour.

Af­ter beat­ing world No.1 Novak Djokovic and No.2 Andy Mur­ray at the Cincinnati Mas­ters last week, Fed­erer has his sights set on his first Grand Slam since 2012 and his first US Open since 2008.

Fed­erer heads into the tour­na­ment as the sec­ond seed, putting him in the op­po­site side of the draw to Djokovic, who will need to han­dle Rafael Nadal, Kei Nishikori and Marin Cilic.

Fed­erer’s side of the draw fea­tures fel­low Swiss Stan Wawrinka and Mur­ray.

Jimmy Con­nors and Pete Sam­pras were the only two male US Open cham­pi­ons aged in their 30s dur­ing the past three decades.

Be­fore that were Aussies Rod Laver (1969) and Ken Rose­wall (1970).

Fed­erer, at 34, is three years older than Con­nors, Sam­pras and Laver when they were win­ners and only one year younger than Rose­wall.

But, with a new, more ag­gres­sive play, the fa­ther of four is show­ing no signs of his age.

In 2013 and last year, as Fed­erer dropped to eighth on the ATP rank­ings, it was thought he had run his race and Mur­ray and Djokovic were charg­ing on­wards while he had stalled.

This year, Fed­erer has carved them both up.

As those of his own gen­er­a­tion, in­clud­ing Andy Rod­dick and Lley­ton He­witt, have wound down, Fed­erer has kept go­ing, all the while dodg­ing ma­jor in­juries.

“I was al­ways go­ing to squeeze the le­mon, so to say, to the last drop,” Fed­erer told The Washington Post.

“And then when I’m re­tired, I’m ac­tu­ally go­ing to be ex­hausted and happy that I did it the way I did it.’’

He will face Leonardo Mayer in the first round. The Ar­gen­tinian had five match points against Fed­erer in Shang­hai last year but still lost. Fed­erer was in top form in Cin­ci­natti, not drop­ping his serve for the en­tire tour­na­ment. The US Open, though, is a dif­fer­ent beast.

For Fed­erer, it will carry the pres­sure of try­ing to get that elu­sive vic­tory that has taunted him since 2008.

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