Roger Federer opts against copying Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic decision to practise

Roger Federer says he has no intention of returning to practise with uncertainty surrounding when the tennis season will resume.

With the deadly impact of the coronavirus pandemic, tennis at all levels is suspended with tournaments like Wimbledon forced to cancel.

It is hoped tennis can resume in August but given the global nature of the sport, it remains to be seen whether that target date will be met.

In a world without the coronavirus, Federer would have been working on his fitness following knee surgery in February and getting prepared to return for the grass-court season.

But speaking in a video call with Brazilian tennis legend Gustavo Kuerten, Federer said that with no tennis to prepare for, he is content to put his feet up and enjoy time with his family.

He said: “We have never stayed at home for more than five weeks since my last surgery in 2016.

“This is a great time for us, as a family, of course, we sometimes drive each other crazy, like any family.

“But honestly, we are healthy, our friends and family did not have the virus, which is important for us. And we’re doing well despite the circumstances.

“I’m not training at the moment because I don’t see a reason for that to be honest.

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“I am happy with my body now and I still believe that the lap of the circuit is a long way off.

“And I think it’s important for my head at this point to enjoy this break after playing so much tennis. I don’t miss it so much.

“I will feel, eventually, when I am close to returning and have a goal to train for. I’m going to be super motivated.”

Federer’s decision is in direct contrast to several of his rivals, who have restarted training in recent days.

After the lifting of lockdown restrictions in Spain, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic have both been pictured practising again.

World No 3 Dominic Thiem is training on the clay in Austria while Federer’s compatriot Stan Wawrinka is working on his game indoors in Switzerland.

While former British No 1 Andy Murray, who hasn’t played a match in 2020, has been at the National Tennis Centre in Roehampton practising with his brother Jamie.

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How Roger Federer helped Man Utd win the 2008 Champions League final

Former Manchester United coach Rene Meulensteen revealed how he used footage of Roger Federer to help the players with their mental focus ahead of the 2008 Champions League final.

United had gone nine years without winning Europe’s biggest club competition and the pressure and expectation was rising on Sir Alex Ferguson and his players.

However, on this occasion Ferguson had the world’s best player in Cristiano Ronaldo in his ranks alongside the passion and quality of Wayne Rooney and Carlos Tevez.

The final would be against Chelsea, the first time two clubs from England would meet for the trophy in the history of the competition.

And to give his players that extra edge, Meulensteen convinced Ferguson that using Federer as an example would be beneficial.

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“I am a keen tennis fan and I have always admired Roger Federer and the way he controls his emotions,” Meulensteen told Planet Football.

“I selected five clips of Federer for the boys to watch and asked them to write down which tournament he was appearing in, which set it was and which point.

“They would identify, say, Wimbledon as the competition, but they couldn’t tell me which point or set it was.

“The point I made to them was that wherever Federer was playing, he was winning and performing at the highest level when it really mattered.

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“He would win the first set, then lose the second and the third but, by the time the game reached match point, everything which had happened before didn’t matter because he was so focused on winning.”

It ultimately worked as United would hold their nerve to beat Chelsea in a penalty shoot-out at the Luzhniki Stadium in Moscow, Russia and complete a Premier League and Champions League title double.

Former United defender Gary Neville recently called that squad the greatest in the club’s history but Paul Ince strongly disagreed.

He told the Evening Standard: “I disagree with that. If you take out Ronaldo and Rooney – Gary Neville was one of the best right-backs in the world.

“I’m not going to say (Patrice) Evra was a better left-back than Denis Irwin, that’s for sure. Pallister was similar to Rio (Ferdinand) in the way they play. We know how great Brucey was for Man United.

“The midfield wouldn’t touch our midfield in 94 and then you’ve got obviously Ronaldo and Rooney who were world-class, but Cantona was world-class.

“When I look at that overall 2008 team, in my opinion, there is probably only Rooney and Ronaldo, definitely, I’d have in my team.

“People forget how good Denis Irwin was. Football has changed, it gets quicker and [with] social media and radio with fans ringing in, players get more highlighted than in our time.

“If you watch Denis Irwin play, two-footed, took free-kicks, scored penalties, I don’t see many left-backs doing that. I didn’t see Evra doing that. I’ve got to disagree with Gary Neville there, I think he was way off the mark.”

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Roger Federer can put off retirement for ‘several years’ due to coronavirus hiatus

The coronavirus pandemic may allow Roger Federer to continue playing for ‘several years’. That is the view of former world No 4 Todd Martin.

The epidemic has led to the suspension of the tennis season with fears there may be no more action this year due to the global nature of the sport.

Prior to the cancellation of the clay and grass court seasons, Federer had undergone knee surgery for the second time in his career and was targetting a return at Wimbledon.

However, following its cancellation in April, Federer made clear he intends to be back at SW19 in 2021 when he will attempt to win a ninth title.

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Next August will see Federer turn 40 and play at the US Open and in the rescheduled Laver Cup in September.

And it remains to be seen whether Federer will still play on in 2022.

But Martin believes any thoughts the Swiss star had of retirement have been shelved and he backed the 38-year-old to leave the sport on a ‘high note’.

“Laver Cup in Switzerland last year looked at one point in time as a logical farewell,” he told Tennis365.

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“Then, I think most conventional wisdom went towards 2020 and the Olympics, Roger would call it a day.

“With the Olympic being postponed, I would imagine it will compel him to play another year.

“Plus, this is no way to end anything. It is really important to Roger, I would imagine, to conclude his career on a bona fide high note.

“Nothing I’ve seen indicates that physically he is incapable of keeping going.

“Nothing I’ve seen has indicated his love for the sport has waned, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see several more years out of him.

“This is going to be a challenging phase for players to cope with. None of them, except for injury, have had this type of time like this just to chill-out. Health will be high, but there are no repetitions for any of them.

“Caging that animal (tennis players) will have consequences, but they don’t get to hit any tennis balls and most people will have different ideas on how to train now.

“How quickly they can come out of this and get back into playing shape and restructure or prepare their game will be really interesting.”

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