In the wake of Roger Federer’s latest unexpected Miami triumph, where he beat Rafael Nadal 6-3 6-4, not only his fans revel in his achievements; so does Federer himself. As Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic, the number one and two players in the world respectively, are forced to watch from the sidelines due to right elbow injuries, Federer has been cleaning up in 2017. And not leaving many crumbs for his rivals to chew on.
In an interview with Swiss broadcaster Zwei, as the clowdy Miami skyline behind him completed the picture, Federer looked back on his exalted dream season so far.
“It has gone much better than expected. I didn’t know how my body would react after the first match, the second match, the first week, the second month and so forth. That uncertainty has never disturbed the calm state of mind needed to play good tennis. That all worked out for me. Overcoming that fear and uncertainty was a great feeling.”
Federer’s return to form can’t simply be called a resurgence as much as it is a resurrection. He has defied all the odds. After missing the second half of last season with a knee surgery he has been able to reinvent himself in a way only possible when one performs an in-depth self-reflection. Not deviating from hugging the baseline at all times and coming over the backhand to express an insatiable aggressive mindset are both testimony to that, and they have paid dividends.
It seems all the world no. 4 needed was the luxury of time to do so. In an ironic way, Federer twisting his knee while drawing a bath for his twin daughters was the twist his career really needed. A blessing in disguise for the Swiss Maestro if there ever was one.
But it is indeed true. In the past he has shown a willingness to learn and exercise great amounts of introspection to revitalize his own game. Utilizing the forehand dropshot to finally seize the 2009 French Open title and implementing the SABR (Sneak Attack By Roger) to come close in Flushing Meadows in 2015, both come to mind. Federer continued giving feedback.
“Now I can look back and say: You’ve done it at the age of 35. Winning the Australian Open, Indian Wells and Miami. Only in my best years I was able to pull that off. It’s surprising but wonderful.”
What’s also surprising is Federer admitting he has maybe lost a step.
“My defense is probably a bit slower due to the wear and tear over the years but my attacking game is perhaps even better, faster and more clever than it used to be.”
Another exhibit of one who has combined the vital aspects of realization and reality needed to fully eradicate denial and ignorance to go forward and improve.
As if to dare himself Federer couldn’t hold back as he elicited a playful smile and produced a presumptuous statement.
“I think the new Federer would definitely have a chance against the old Federer!”
How very bold! It’s a shame that this match-up only exists in the hypothetical realm. It’s doubtful his avid fans around the world agree with him on the matter. Federer in his prime simply was a different animal, living on a different planet.
In saying he would have a chance if he could face off with his younger self within a span of 24 hours where he also declared to ESPN that he’d skip all three claycourt Masters tournaments because he’s “not 24 anymore” is a remarkable string of comments to say the least. Still when he backs up his tactics and words on the tennis court in devastating confident manner it’s hard not to think he believes what he says.
Leave it to Roger to talk about himself in the third person and getting away with it.