Fed­erer ex­pects in­jury to pro­long play time

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

MUM­BAI:

Roger Fed­erer be­lieves his six-month ab­sence due to a knee in­jury could help pro­long his play­ing ca­reer, with the 17times grand slam win­ner say­ing he has en­joyed the break. The 35-year-old Swiss had surgery on his left knee in Fe­bru­ary and, af­ter miss­ing the French Open with a back in­jury, an­nounced in July that he needed ex­ten­sive re­ha­bil­i­ta­tion and would be side­lined for the rest of the sea­son.

Fed­erer re­turns to ac­tion at the Hop­man Cup, start­ing on Jan 1, which he will play in for the first time since he teamed up with his now wife Mirka in 2002. He will partner com­pa­triot Belinda Ben­cic, 19, at the in­ter­na­tional team tour­na­ment in Perth. Fed­erer said it was a tough call to take a six-month break and he looked at the big­ger pic­ture be­fore de­cid­ing. “I do believe that it could be very ben­e­fi­cial for the fu­ture of my ten­nis ca­reer,” he told re­porters on a con­fer­ence call.

“To have had this six-month lay­off, re­ju­ve­nated, re­freshed... maybe men­tally I needed this rest more than I thought I would. Maybe my body needed a rest more than I thought it would. I tried to look at the big pic­ture, I hope it’s go­ing to pay off. “At least one thing I know now is I have no re­grets. I did ev­ery­thing this year to get my body back in shape. It didn’t feel too gru­elling, too long, too hard to go through this process. I have ac­tu­ally en­joyed it.”

Unique year

For much of his ca­reer, the for­mer world num­ber one had been blessed with a body that seemed bul­let-proof against the aches, pains and in­juries suf­fered by most top ath­letes. Un­til May this year, Fed­erer had ap­peared in 65 suc­ces­sive grand slam tour­na­ments and the last time he was ab­sent from one of the four ma­jors was at the 1999 US Open. But his semi-fi­nal de­feat by Cana­dian Mi­los Raonic at Wim­ble­don, which saw him drop to 16 in the world rank­ings, was his last pro­fes­sional match this year. Fed­erer said his goal was to get fully fit and he was look­ing for­ward to a few matches in Perth be­fore the year’s first grand slam starts later in the month in Melbourne. “This year is unique be­cause maybe this is the year more than any time be­fore where I do need matches at the be­gin­ning of the sea­son,” Fed­erer said, adding that he was do­ing ev­ery­thing pos­si­ble to add more ma­jors to his tro­phy cab­i­net.

“Matches have a dif­fer­ent in­ten­sity about it and your body re­acts ac­cord­ing to it.” Fed­erer said he had ex­pected Andy Mur­ray to be world num­ber one at some point but was sur­prised the Bri­ton fin­ished the year at the top of the rank­ings ahead of Serb No­vak Djokovic. “That just gives even more credit to Andy for not be­com­ing world num­ber one but fin­ish­ing world num­ber one,” he said. “Those are two sep­a­rate things. “Be­com­ing world num­ber one for a week or fin­ish­ing a year as world num­ber one, it’s a dif­fer­ent an­i­mal.” — Reuters

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