View Single Post
Old 09-27-2009, 08:15 AM   #62
David L
Hall Of Fame
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: London
Posts: 2,581

Federer is playing better this year. I posted the comments below in another thread, but they are relevant here also.

September 14, 2009

"I think it became clear to Roger when he was not feeling well that to beat Rafa he had to be in top shape," Higueras said. "His movement had to be more precise to beat Rafa."

So Federer went to work in Dubai at the end of the 2008 season, and again in February, with renewed purpose. Beating Rafa was his greatest motivation. He worked harder than ever with trainer Pierre Paganini.

The physical change is striking. Federer is playing, those close to him say, about eight pounds lighter than his listed weight of 187 pounds.

"Slowly," Higueras said, "his body has come back. He's where he wants to be."

There have been some other, less obvious alterations. According to Higueras and Cahill, Federer:

" Made his forehand more effective and improved his backhand".

"Champions know that if you stop getting better, you're getting worse," Higueras said. "This is true at all levels. I mentioned it pretty often to him last year: You have to think in terms of trying to get better, or your longevity suffers.

"Think about this: One guy had a better year than him in 2008 -- one. And now look at what he's done. He could win three Slams in a row."

More than anything, Higueras and Cahill stress, Federer has found his resolve again. After enduring what appeared to be a bruising defeat, a champion has the ability to rewind back to zero and refocus.

"I've seen him after losing matches, and I haven't been around too many people who react like that," Higueras said. "Pete [Sampras] was like that. Roger, I saw last year when he got beat at the French Open. The next day he went to Halle [Germany] and it was like nothing happened."

"You have to assume [Rafa's] one of the reasons [for his improvement]," said Tony Godsick, Federer's International Management Group agent. "Roger needs competition. He needs challenges to make it exciting for him. He tells you he wants to play the best player in the biggest stadiums  and he means it, he really does."
September 5, 2009

Q. Do you think your game is anywhere near its peak? I mean, obviously you were No. 1 in the world for two years straight six years ago, but is your game anywhere near that level?

LLEYTON HEWITT: Yeah, I think so. I think the game is always improving and changing. Roger took it to a new level, and then Rafa came, and believe it or not, took it to a new level again. Roger has had to better himself to stay with Rafa. You have a guy like Murray and Djokovic is hanging around there. Roddick has had to make himself a better, more complete player, as well. Yeah, that's just part of it. I think that's what motivates the great players to try and keep improving and stay at the top of their game.
David L is offline   Reply With Quote