Federer: ‘I Found The Joy In Working Hard’
Swiss star reflects on work ethic
Roger Federer has been a household name at Wimbledon since winning the first of seven titles at the All England Club in 2003. But success had not always been guaranteed for the Swiss, whose early career was marked by inconsistency even after an epic upset of six-time champion Pete Sampras in 2001 in the fourth round at Wimbledon.
“I had to go my path. My path was different,” said Federer, who found inspiration from two key figures in his early twenties. “It was left and right and trying to adjust and find myself. Eventually, I found the joy in working hard and feeling the pain, understanding why I'm going on the treadmill, why I'm going to the weight room.”
Despite being the most accomplished Swiss player ever, Federer believes he would not be the player he is today had he not followed the example of wife Mirka, a WTA Tour player who reached a career high of No. 76 in the world in 2001.
“I was just watching her train and it's incredible how you can put your head down, train for five, six hours straight without losing interest. I was losing interest within an hour,” Federer said. “I was more just admiring it rather than thinking I could do the same one day, to be quite honest. I needed everything to be explained to me. When finally the penny dropped, it was very clear to me, why I was doing the off-court work for the on-court."
“Tony Roche also helped me in a big way, just getting my mind right in this sense,” said Federer of the Aussie legend, who coached him from 2005 to 2007. “When Tony asked me, ‘can you play seven times five sets?’ I looked at him and said ‘I don't know.’
“[His mindset] was sort of old school, just being able to work for hour after hour after hour. Ever since, it's not been a problem for me to do that.”
For Federer, finding the motivation to work hard is no longer an issue. Quite the contrary.
“Now, I actually have my coaching team slowing me down, [coach] Severin [Luthi] telling me it's okay, that I don't need to do more than two, three hours straight anymore,” the 34 year old said.
After breezing through his first three matches in straight sets, Federer will now have time to take a breather.
“I'm looking forward to my day off tomorrow. On Sunday, I'll practise to keep that intensity, play points, go to the gym again, and Monday hopefully I'll have great energy when I come back.”
Federer will face either Steve Johnson or Grigor Dimitrov in the fourth round.