Evergreen Federer still defying Old Father Time
Blessed with tennis genius, a multi-lingual father of two sets of twins, Roger Federer has plenty going for him, but on top of that he appears to be defying the ageing process.
London: Blessed with tennis genius, a multi-lingual father of two sets of twins, Roger Federer has plenty going for him, but on top of that he appears to be defying the ageing process.
At 33, the age when most sportsmen and women, particularly those practising individual sports requiring speed, strength, stamina and agility, are winding down, the effervescent Swiss is hitting as hard and moving as nimbly as ever.
On Sunday he saw off Milos Raonic, 10 years his junior, in straight sets, and he gave away nearly a decade to Japan`s Kei Nishikori on Tuesday when he dashed to 6-3 6-2 win that put him on the cusp of the semi-finals at the ATP`s World Tour Finals.
His classy win over Nishikori at the O2 was his 70th of the season, far more than any other player, and left him only seven wins away from clocking up 1,000 for his career.
Should he beat Andy Murray in his final Group B match on Thursday it would equal his most successful season in terms of match wins since he was all but untouchable in 2006.
He is already assured of becoming the oldest player to finish in the ATP`s top two and if he won a sixth season-ending title this week and captured a first Davis Cup title for Switzerland next week he could even return to world number one.
No wonder Nishikori looked slightly in awe as Federer lorded it on one his favourite stages.
"Actually I never feel that he`s 33 right now," Nishikori told reporters. "He looks still young and is playing amazing tennis. I think the age doesn`t matter.
"I think he`s getting better every time."
Had Federer edged out Novak Djokovic in an epic Wimbledon final rather than fall just short of an 18th career major, few would argue that he has been the year`s best player.
While he said it would be "cool" to notch up 1,000 career wins, his only focus after beating Nishikori was on his match with Murray on Thursday -- when he could already be assured of a semi-final berth.
He said there would be no let-up, whatever the scenario.
"The advantage of being qualified, if that were to happen, is just that you can go into the match a bit more laid back," he told reporters. "But there`s so much still at stake, wanting to beat a rival, wanting to win the points that are at stake, go in with a clean sheet into the semis is the way to go."