from The Telegraph
by Simon Briggs
Were the BBC’s International Sports Personality title decided by public vote, the betting for 2014 would surely have closed by now. Already as popular as Santa Claus, Roger Federer is now benefiting from the extra wave of emotion that rewards great athletes in their final act.
What an act it has already been, and how much more it promises to deliver. When Federer arrived in London last November it seemed that the end was nigh. Now, as he goes into this weekend's ATP World Tour Finals with an outside chance of regaining the No 1 ranking, many good judges feel he could play until 2018.
How, then, does he do it? In his exclusive interview with Telegraph Sport, Federer highlights three key areas that have already carried him to five ATP titles and a tour-leading 68 wins this season. And the first insight, passed on to him by his new coach Stefan Edberg, turns out to be highly counterintuitive.
"Stefan wanted me more to play more matches and play tournaments more consistently," said Federer, who is squeezing 17 events into 2014 – not to mention next month’s Davis Cup final – where the reigning No 1 Novak Djokovic settled for 15.
"I used to go in spells, but he doesn’t believe in taking too long of a break. He says it’s fine to do that when you’re younger, but when you’re older, maybe it’s easier for your body to keep on playing.
Federer's 2014 has been full of action and incident, including the arrival of his twin boys in May, yet it has flown by in comparison to his "long and gruelling" 2013. Last year, he was suffering from chronic spinal pain yet still managed to maintain his 15-year unbroken run at the grand slams. He is not one to call trainers to the court, nor to grab parts of his body after he misses a shot, so the outside world reckoned he was completely fit – just a legendary tennis player whose powers were waning in accordance with the laws of nature.
"Midway through last year, I was like Andy [Murray] maybe at the beginning of this year," Federer says now. "You know you’re not 100 per cent but you can’t really say anything about it, because you don’t know whether you’re going to be able to play significantly better in the future. Happily, it turned out that we were both far from our best."
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- 5 Reasons why Federer is able to play like 23 at 33
- "Surprised" Federer eager to exploit No. 1 chances
- The hilarious side of the Fedberg partnership
- Ball boy Federer receives medal after Edberg vs Stich final
- Federer talks about Edberg to Gimelstob