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Roger Federer: ‘Maybe it’s a fresh start that the world needs

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Tennis can be a very difficult sport from a mental point of view. Despite frequent trips to wonderful places and the opportunity to perform in front of a large audience, it is not uncommon for a professional tennis player to deal with loneliness.

The mental health issue of tennis players is not discussed as it deserves. In the past, when some players came out in the open, they were accused of being weak. Slowly, the situation seems to be improving.

Federer on the importance of mental health
“We shouldn’t forget the players who suffer from mental health problems,” Roger Federer said recently.

“It is important that we do not underestimate the importance of mental health in our sport.” The Swiss Maestro vouched for care and sensitivity in this respect, more so in these COVID-19 stricken times when the world yearns for a fresh start.

“It isn’t easy (to deal with). It is important that we do not underestimate the importance of mental health in our sport. We need to show support to each other. Maybe it’s a fresh start that people and the world needs,” the former World number 1 explained.

Mental health issues came to the fore when former Top 10 Mardy Fish was unable to take to the court against Federer for their fourth round match at the 2012 US Open. The American was suffering from tachycardia and managed to calm down only after his wife convinced him not to play.

Although Fish did not admit it at the time, it was later revealed that he suffered from anxiety and depression. “In our sport we were always told that weakness is a shame. Probably many feel the same way, after all every fifth (player) suffers from fear.

It is a warning sign of the body that prepares it: for flight or fight,” Fish said. “Life in tennis consists of more than playing in front of an audience and traveling to places of longing. It is characterised by routines.

The same cities, the same stadiums, the same airports, the same hotels and questions. And there are always fears, worries, loneliness, the inner demons in the luggage,” he added. Lockdown restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic continue to cause havoc with tennis, with both the ATP and WTA Tours still suspended.

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Novak Djokovic says he regrets his failure to win at the US Open or Roland Garros

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“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life”

Novak Djokovic says he regrets the failure to win either the US or French Opens, despite playing some of the best tennis of his life in 2020.

Having won an eighth Australian Open in January, Djokovic was disqualified at the US Open after inadvertently hitting a line judge in the neck with a petulant swipe of the ball during his fourth-round clash with Pablo Carreno Busta.

He was then blown away by world No 2 Rafael Nadal in the final of the re-arranged French Open in October.

Djokovic remains on 17 Grand Slam titles while Nadal and Federer are on 20 each after the Spaniard clinched a record-extending 13th Roland Garros title.

“There is a lingering regret that I didn’t win either the US Open or the Roland Garros this year,” Djokovic told reporters at his tennis academy in downtown Belgrade by the Danube river.

“I was in outstanding form at both events but having reached the French Open final, I was beaten by a player who was much better on the day.

“I was below par and that’s it. As far as the US Open is concerned, I got myself into an unfortunate situation and was disqualified, but I won several other big tournaments.

“The US Open disqualification notwithstanding, I have only lost one match all season and I’ve played some of the best tennis of my life.”

Djokovic dismissed suggestions he was under intense pressure to overhaul Nadal and Federer in their three-way race to become the greatest male player of all time.

“Pressure has been a part of my life for a long time and I’ve learned how to deal with it,” he said.

“It comes with the territory if you are a top-level athlete and it can also galvanise you. You take physical and mental knocks along the way but it’s all part of the learning curve.

“If I retired now I’d be happy with everything I have achieved but I still enjoy competing and every tournament I enter gives me so much motivation and joy.”

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