Pas­sion pushes Fed­erer on

Sunday Mail - - SPORT LATEST NEWS, ANALYSIS -

ROGER Fed­erer be­lieves im­proved diet, greater pro­fes­sion­al­ism and a shrink­ing world will lead to more tennis stars playing deep into their thir­ties.

Fed­erer will match Lley­ton He­witt’s record of 20 con­sec­u­tive Aus­tralian Open ap­pear­ances when he bids for an un­prece­dented sev­enth men’s sin­gles crown in Melbourne.

At 35, Fed­erer in­sisted playing on had noth­ing to do with keep­ing clear of great ri­vals Rafael Nadal and No­vak Djokovic on the grand slam ti­tles leader­board.

“I don’t think I needed them to push me, to be quite hon­est,” he said. “It’s more: ‘How is my wife? How are my kids? How is my body? How are my re­sults?

“And my goal was al­ways to play for as long as pos­si­ble, be­cause I have a lot of pas­sion for this sport. I love playing tennis – al­ways have.

“I’ve al­ways tried to re­mind my­self that this was my dream to be­come a tennis player, and that’s why I think I’m able to show so much en­thu­si­asm for tennis. So when I saw An­dre Agassi, or oth­ers, Ken Rose­wall, Jimmy Con­nors play for a long time, I thought that was pretty cool, that they played through so many gen­er­a­tions.

“So if I had a chance to do it as well, I’d be happy to try to go there as well.”

Fed­erer can barely be­lieve he’s still top 10, let alone world No.3. “But I feel with fly­ing be­ing more easy today than it was 20, 30, 40 years ago and that we’re do­ing more re­hab, more stretch­ing, more mas­sages, we eat prob­a­bly bet­ter and we have a big­ger en­tourage (it’s not so sur­pris­ing),” he said.

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