Former Tennis player Fabrice Santoro has revealed that Roger Federer had to change four things about his play and schedule to keep performing at the level he currently is and to attune to his age. The Frenchman believes Federer decided to play less, change his racquet, shorten his matches and play even more forward so as to not exert himself beyond his capacity.
Federer became the oldest player in the game to claim the number one title when he reached the semi-finals of the Rotterdam Open, which he eventually went on to win by defeating Grigor Dimitrov 6-2 6-2 in the finals. The achievement came days after he won the Australian Open in Melbourne — his 20th Grand Slam title in his journey to the top.
Federer has now won three of the last five majors and victory in Melbourne was the sixth Australian Open victory of what has been an illustrious career. He becomes only the fourth player after Margaret Court, Serena Williams and Steffi Graf to win 20 or more major singles titles.
Achieving all this at 36 has not been an easy task for Federer and he had to make some major changes in his schedule and style of play to remain in the hunt. The Swissman skipped the entire clay court scene last year and concentrated only on grass and hard courts, which allowed him to stay fit the entire campaign.
However, when Santoro was asked if playing less was the only reason behind Federer's longevity, the Frenchman also talked about three other changes which helped him to keep performing at the top.
"Not only. He understood that he had to change his racket, shorten his matches and play even more forward. All this has required a lot of work, especially the reverse, but he did it brilliantly," Santoro told L'Equipe.
Federer was next scheduled to play in the Dubai Open, scheduled on 26 February. However, having achieved what he wanted to, tournament director Salah Tahlak is not sure if Federer will now consider coming to Dubai only a week after his triumph at Rotterdam.
"It's like 50-50. We are still hoping that he will come because you know he loves Dubai and Dubai Duty Free," Tahlak told Khaleej Times.
"His first career title came in Milan and that tournament was owned by Dubai Duty Free. So it's always on his mind. And he has been good to Dubai and Dubai has been good to him. But sometimes we can't push beyond the borders. He is a human being and he has his priorities."