It is the adversary that no athlete, however brilliant, can overcome. Not even Roger Federer. The passage of time and the weight of the years have therefore come to the end of the Basler who will bid farewell to London, as part of the Laver Cup, a month and a half after his 41st birthday. However, he somehow did everything to maintain the illusion of eternity. Do you realize, in the summer of 2008 when his unchallenged reign ended in favor of Rafael Nadal – 237 consecutive weeks in the place of world number 1, which is still a record -, the first birds of bad omen already announced the end. He will have lasted 14 more years. So much so that he gave the impression of not having the same biological clock as the others. Like no one, except perhaps his great Mallorcan rival, he will have mastered the art of rebounding. After a dark year 2013 on his scale, marked by early exits at Wimbledon (2nd round) and the US Open (8th final), he was able to reinvent himself thanks to the help of his idol Stefan Edberg, a sieve (slightly) wider and with a more offensive bias. ATP Metz Thiem more solid than Gasquet: video summary of the match 3 HOURS AGO reverse. Result: a comeback as thunderous as it was unexpected and sublime at the 2017 Australian Open. a canonical age where most athletes have bowed out. And this thanks to the advice of an Ivan Ljubicic – barely older than him and who became his coach – whom he had faced on the courts for a long time before. This is to say if he succeeded in extending his “lifespan” at the highest level. Federer – Nadal 2017, the summary of a legendary final Technique, physique and relaxation: the secrets of longevity So what was his secret? From 2004 and his accession to world number one, Federer had put all the ingredients in place with his physical trainer Pierre Paganini in order to stay on top as long as possible. To do this, he had three major assets: a little high-precision footwork, an almost perfect racket technique in hand and a relaxation that avoided any superfluous effort. When he had the margin – and this happened to him quite often – so he did his best to save as much energy as possible by stunning his opponents. We no longer count the number of games folded in three dry sets and 1h30 in Grand Slam, two sets and less than an hour everywhere else. It was the famous “FedExpress”, the one whose speed of movement, sequence between points and early ball taking amazed. At the time of the reign of power, ever larger sizes and percentage tennis, the game of the Swiss maestro had necessarily something anachronistic. A classicism in homage to past champions By the purity of his strikes, the excellence from its placement and fit, the brilliance of its touch, it seemed to pay homage to champions of the past. And what better setting to demonstrate this than Center Court at Wimbledon? He had made it his garden and we now remember with a certain nostalgia his “vintage” entries in a blazer and white pants and/or a sweater. A nod to the tradition and nobility of his sport.Roger Federer, Wimbledon 2007.Credit: AFPHis multifaceted game was a sort of synthesis of everything that had come before. A classicism with formidable efficiency: from his Ken Rosewall backhand passing to his forehand slice defense like a squash player – a move now democratized – his palette was unrivaled and delighted the spectators . Some anthology sequences commented on by our colleagues from the BBC still resonate to this day in our ears as the memories rise. Small anthology: In the final in 2012 against Andy Murray, on a feint of amortization which turns into a winning sliced forehand: “Pretty old-fashioned shot, Fred Perry would have liked it”, exclaimed the commentator. Which gives roughly in French: “It’s a blow from another era, Fred Perry (winner at Wimbledon in 1934, 1935, 1936, editor’s note) would not have denied it.” During the same match, on an uncrossed cushioning hit while stepping back to escape the ball, Tim Henman could not hold back a “This is delicious” which speaks for itself. In the semi-finals in 2017 against Tomas Berdych, invited to comment on the future direction of Federer’s services, Tim Henman, again him, and Boris Becker are wrong every time, mystified by the illegible ball throw of the Swiss. This is followed by the bursts of laughter of ex-champions subjugated by the mastery deployed before their eyes. Anachronistic, Federer was therefore above all by his tennis, of a sublime elegance and which he knew how to adapt to the times: from server-volleyball assumed against Pete Sampras in 2001 to the baseline striker capable of holding off Novak Djokovic for nearly five hours 18 years later. But he was also out of time in his relationship with others and the media. Roger Federer at Wimbledon in 2019Credit: Getty ImagesAs admired by Laver as by Alcaraz: a bridge between generations His status gave him a special aura. Many have thus said that the silence was when he entered the locker room. The Swiss naturally commanded respect like all the great champions who preceded him, from Rod Laver to Andre Agassi, via Björn Borg and John McEnroe. But he didn’t use it to create a character. Willing to lodge, accessible for young wolves in search of advice, he never felt special while being aware of what he represented. As such, his press conferences were often a delight for journalists: listening, he gave many enlightening details on the game and did not hesitate to develop. From this volubility showed a deep love for his sport and his Story. A quality increasingly rare these days among athletes who too often tend to lose interest in what happened before them. From this point of view, Federer embodied a relay between generations and it is also for this reason – beyond assumed marketing objectives – that he created the Laver Cup in homage to Rod Laver and the legends who made them dream. A special bond has developed between the Swiss and the Australian over the years, which also helps to give ‘Rodgeur’ a certain authority on the circuit and beyond. 1 in the world to Novak Djokovic for most of the last decade, many still see Federer as the “boss” of world tennis. Not a tyrannical boss, but a “padre du game” as Jo-Wilfried Tsonga said in L’Equipe, guarantor of tradition, of a certain propriety without ever departing from a “cool” side appreciated by the youth. He has also appropriated some of his codes in his own way: selfies with animals in Australia or his new dog, surprise encounters with young fans during confinement via a sponsor, or even video “chat” of legends with Rafael Nadal. We no longer count the players of the following generations who were inspired by him. Carlos Alcaraz, who paid him a strong tribute to which he responded, is also the last blatant example. Out of time and universal, Federer will have spoken to everyone. Now there’s a legacy to cultivate.WTA TokyoInjured abs, Osaka throws in the towel5 HOURS AGOTennisDominic Thiem: “Alcaraz, Sinner…these guys are changing the game”6 HOURS AGO
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