Having now won eight Wimbledon titles and a total of 19 Grand Slams, Roger Federer is officially the ‘gr8est’ male tennis player that has ever lived.
How has he accomplished this? He thinks and acts like a designer.
He begins by planning
Federer plans his year, and has also recently revealed how he has taken selective break opportunities to plan for an extended career at the top of men’s tennis. He also plans each match and each game for a ‘desired outcome’.
He plays economically
When Federer plays, he is economical with his movements, often making it look effortless. There is no waste, only the essential is used.
This is a big reason why he has lasted so long: there is no appearance of over exertion or grunting, he conserves his energy and retains focused on winning.
He plays visually
The combination of the two factors above, together with total control of his abilities has resulted in the most beautiful aesthetically pleasing shots ever witnessed on a tennis court.
Dazzling arcs and mesmerising angles – his play not only gets attention but captures the imagination too.
He plays responsively
On top of all the this, Federer adds a highly responsive element to his game, adjusting real time to what is happening.
Take this most recent Wimbledon final: early in the first set he went from almost having his serve broken to holding and then immediately breaking his opponent. He took what was working against him, swiftly adjusted, and instead of going behind used the information to get (and stay) ahead.
Staying ahead of the competition
That’s what champions do, and this is what staying ahead of the competition requires. Marin Cilic played an outstanding tournament, deservedly making it to the final but he couldn’t keep pace.
A month away from turning 36, Federer is turning back the clock. His play and his movement this year has even been described as ‘elastic’ – youthful and springy as he’s glided across the court hitting one unbelievable shot after another, and we’ll take that analogy any day.
Roger Federer – gr8est, and ‘elastic’!