Tennis legend Roger Federer says a change in mindset and a more relaxed attitude to his game helped him produce one of the great sporting comebacks.
After missing six months of tennis towards the end of 2016 because of a knee injury, Federer returned to the sport at the Hopman Cup in Perth, and went on to win both the Australian Open and Wimbledonin 2017.
“It’s kind of a surprise because I didn’t expect to, at 36 or 37, to play as good as I am today,” he said.
The tennis great visited Rottnest Island off the coast of Perth, ahead of the Hopman Cup, starting on 30 December.
The 19-time Grand Slam winner made the decision to miss this year’s French Open to let his body rest and prepare for his title defence at Rod Laver Arena in January.
The break has also let him hone a different approach to his game — namely playing the game on his own terms.
“It was a bit of a reset for my mind, to take things more relaxed,” Federer said.
“Especially in the bigger moments, rather than always playing the percentages, it’s more playing on my terms rather than thinking too much about my opponent.
“I think that’s something we’ve really worked on in the off-season is to play aggressive, take control of the point on my serve.”
Despite limiting the amount of tennis he is playing, and admitting he is not able to train as often now he is older, retirement still is not on his mind.
“At this age, I have a lot of pleasure doing what I’m doing, because if I didn’t enjoy it I would not do it anymore,” Federer said.
“I’m going to be very careful of selecting the tournaments I’ll play, and I think anything I win from here on forward is like a bonus.”
“As long as I’m healthy and happy to play I’ll keep doing that and then we’ll see when the end is.”