As Federer gets further away from his 26th birthday, after next month, the widest gap between him and the upcoming usurpers will be purely physical. Science says we peak at 25.
Maybe his shots that rely heavily on swift movement and speed, might take a slight hit, but what will take the brunt of it, will be the endurance and the ability to stay at the top notch, for a longer period of time.
It is inevitable. All of YOU have experienced it, haven’t you.
So his physical regimen will need some tinkering, specially when you are dealing with 21 year olds. That’s a five year difference.
I have seen some photos of Federer’s abdomen recently, which has prompted calls for more emphasis on physical conditioning. The three hours 45 minutes five-setter at Wimbledon would have given Federer a good idea of where he is. FO final preceding that was another indication.
In retrospect, the skipping of tune-up events for Wimbledon may have clinched the Wimbledon deal. But it appears, Federer is more likely to go through a more rigorous test in the months to come.
It is better to err on the side of caution and brace yourself with targeted training and exercise. You don’t have to put on a lot of weight to get strength. That is not the kind of endurance I am referring to.
It is the endurance and stamina of a marathon runner that is more in demand here. If you have noticed, they all have clearly defined and toned bodies, without extra weight.
Nadal’s weight is what forces him to heave at every shot, in turn making it very demanding physically. He cannot move as fast with that weight, specially on his butt. He is still able to cover a lot of ground, but that effort takes the toll on his joints etc because of that weight.
But he has strong muscles, so even if he is not able to get completely under the shot, he can still pull off an incredible shot because of his strength. Perfect example is his two-handed back hand. If he is not able to get the ball at the sweet spot on his racket when fully stretched, he still can deliver an awesome punch because of sheer power.
The freaking point is this: Federer needs to not only improve his stamina and endurance in the coming months, he needs more power in his hand and legs to keep up with these young guns.
Maybe he needs to call Arnold Swarznegger and Louis Ferrigno (knock yourself out on the spelling – some of you freaks really enjoy that).
In a nutshell, Federer needs a more defined abdomen, quads and arm. Let Mirka take care of the other important muscles.