Fed­erer in­spired by Con­nors, Agassi

Observer on Saturday - - Sport -

Mo­ments be­fore Andy Mur­ray learned of his grisly draw at the Aus­tralian Open, Roger Fed­erer was wax­ing lyri­cal about what keeps him so fresh at 37.

The de­fend­ing cham­pion still looks ridicu­lously sprightly, his mo­ti­va­tion undimmed by any amount of wealth, ti­tles (99 and count­ing), fame and adu­la­tion.

“My goal was al­ways to play as long


Sas pos­si­ble, that’s why I’m able to show so much en­thu­si­asm,” he re­flected. “When I see oth­ers who have played for a long time Ken Rose­wall, Jimmy Con­nors, An­dre Agassi it has looked pretty cool, play­ing through the gen­er­a­tions.

“That I am still inside the top 10 is a lit­tle bit sur­pris­ing to me, but not that I am still play­ing.”

Fed­erer also in­sisted that he has not needed No­vak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Mur­ray to have pushed him, longevity is just something that has come nat­u­rally.

Main­tain­ing a suc­cess­ful ca­reer into the deep end of the thir­ties ap­pears, sadly, to be something that Mur­ray is not des­tined to en­joy.

There was a fur­ther re­minder of this when, sev­eral hours be­fore the draw which pit­ted him against in-form No. 22 seed Roberto Bautista Agut, Mur­ray played the best part of two sets un­der se­ri­ous match con­di­tions against Djokovic on the Mar­garet Court Arena at Mel­bourne Park.

With sev­eral thou­sand spec­ta­tors al­lowed in and re­plete with an um­pire, line judges and a scoreboard they played out their al­lot­ted prac­tice time af­ter an elon­gated warm-up, with the score end­ing up at 6-1, 41 to the Serb.

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