Federer on fitness: ‘Nowadays people do all sorts of crazy stuff’

Roger Federer

FROM INDIAN WELLS — The famous Roger Federer moved on Wednesday, easily beating Kyle Edmund 6-1 6-4, swirling around, attacking, sprinting. The 20-time Grand Slam champion is now 37 years olds, and while he is a tiny bit slower, he still is very fast, and each year, he gets even smarter.

Assuming that he will be healthy — which he usually is — Federer will win some big tournaments this year. His serve, her forehand, his return, his volley and even his shank backhand are almost perfect. Not every day, but darn close. Yes, the other Slam winners can beat him, specifically Rafa Nadal, who is still in the mix. They may face off against each other on Friday in the semis. That would be some kind of a match.

Federer has won 100 titles. That is huge, and he could retire immediately if he wants to. But he wants to continue, because he loves to play. The same goes on with the eight-time champ Venus Williams, who is 38 years old. She is also still here, having reached the quarters. They may not be No. 1, but at least they are close against anyone. They just want to have fun.

Federer said, “I think, number one, you’ve got to be happy to be on tour. It’s very simple, because usually you’re not at your career high, ranking-wise, anymore at that age. S,o you have to pick on something else that’s exciting for you, whatever that may be: travels, match play, whatever, practice, life on the road. So, you’ve got to be passionate about what you do. I feel more guys and more girls are really actually enjoying that part of the tour, which before I felt players were happy to do something else, which is cool, too.

“I think tennis really provides you with an incredible platform where you learn a lot, you run into a lot of interesting people. At the end of the day, you’re the boss of your own company, if you like, and you can choose how much you want to train, where you want to play. It will be very different at the time when you retire, most likely, you won’t be quite in control unless you run a company, and even then you have a completely different pressure than you have as a tennis player. So, players see more and more what actually a privilege it is to be a tennis player, and that’s nice to see.”

Federer works out all the time, practicing, figuring out how he should play. He can slice his backhand, top it, or smash it; he has a tremendous variety. When he is returning, he can guess which way he should go, to the left, or the right, or stay there if the opponent is attempting to try to hit it on his chest. As long as he stays in the top 10, he will be under control. As Federer has said, it is not all about playing, or practicing, it’s about finding your body.

“The secret behind, I’m sure, is starting with nutrition, stretching, massages, sleep, you name it. All these things have gotten more and more professionally done at a young age already,” Federer said. “I remember, when I came up, people doing the elastic band, people laughing at them doing it. Now everybody sort of does it. People stopped doing that and doing other things. Back in the day, all you took is a hot bath, ate a banana on the court. That was it. Nowadays people do all sorts of crazy stuff. It’s interesting to see how the game has evolved.”

Federer will face against Hubert Hurkacz, the rising Pole. Nadal will go up against Karen Khachanov, who is about to crack into the top 10 next week. He took down John Isner in straight sets.

Eighteen-year-old Canadian Bianca Andreescu blew out Garbine Muguruza 6-1, 6-0. How the heck did she do that? All of Andreescu game has improved a lot this season. She’s versatile.

Elina Svitolina did it again. Two days ago, she edged Ashleigh Barty in three hours and 12 minutes in a punishing three-setter. On Wednesday night, she overcame Czech 19- year-old Marketa Vondrousova 4-6, 6-4, 6-4 in over two hours. Svitolina just doesn’t get tired. She will push to try to become No. 1, but will probably need that elusive emergence in a Slam to do it.