Originally Posted by ExpectedWinner
These are some excerpts from 2004 interviews. Just food for your thoughts. (conditioning/training issue)
ROGER FEDERER: Well, it's not only since a year, I would say it's more over the last two or three years now I've been really playing with confidence since a long time. I had very little of dips, you know, where I wasn't playing well for a long time.
So I think a lot came when I started to improve really much was my condition, my physical strength, and then at the same time, you know, the mental part of my game also start to really become much more of an advantage because it used to be a disadvantage ‑ and I know that. I think this has made the biggest improvement in my game.
I think my backhand is much more consistent than it used to be. And I think this has just increased the whole level of game for me. I can play very consistent now. I'm not in a rush when I'm playing like I used to be sometimes.
ROGER FEDERER: Well, you know, a lot of things together really. I also feel, you know, what Lleyton says, I also feel the same thing. You know, matches before, like if I take an example, I think in 2000 when I played him in Davis Cup, it was one set all, he won the third set tiebreaker, I lost 6 1 in the fourth. Those are the kind of matches I wouldn't say happen to me regularly, because knowing he was so strong, I knew it was very difficult to come back. I would completely change my game, and it would backfire.
So now, because I have, you know, much more experience, I'm more confident, I know that I'm I have a solid base now also on the conditioning side and mental side. So for me things have really changed, and I look at tennis very different now than I used to
FEDERER: Oh, to me it just feels, also in between matches and on the court, I feel like I'm not losing too much energy. Before maybe there also was more of an unsecure (sic) feeling I had on the court, which made me become maybe more nervous, not sure of what I'm actually going to do. You know, if I would panic a few years ago, I would just start to serve and volley because I would feel like, well, my backhand's not working, so how does it work that I don't have to a backhand? Well, I come to net, so I have to hit volleys. So then I would get upset. This also wouldn't work.
So I had to just ‑‑ it's got a lot also to do with self‑confidence for me, just be able to understand the game itself.
Well, I still feel, you know, room for improvement on my backhand side. I would like to hit the backhand, you know, which comes higher to my backhand better. But I think a lot had to do with my backhand was my footwork. Now I'm in better position. Before I would be really lazy. I would be happy just to play a slice. But now if I can hit a drive backhand, it's better for my game. This has been the big improvement for me.
Yes, EW conditioning is very important for him since he relies so much on footwork and we in fact commented on it throughout the year (especially his bad positioning during the execution of his running forehand).
If he had indeed become lazy, he will lose more matches and hopefully realize why. Based on the comments that you took time to collate however, I would think that he would be even more careful to not lose conditioning since he realizes just how important that is to his game.
He could just as easily be mentally off and no amount of conditioning is going to rectify that. As an example, if his relationship with Mirka has gone south, how will conditioning help?
Anyway, I haven't watched the match but apparently it was a combination of Roger freezing up during big points and Gonzo playing with nothing to lose.
After he won the USO, I predicted that it would be very hard for him to win the three slams he requires to take over the total # of slams won and I still stand by that for two reasons:
1) Intense pressure of expectations
2) He has this tendency to break down when a record is looming - 2005 when he could have beaten JMac's record and IW this year when he was after the 44 straight wins record.
In the end, him being booted out of TMC could be a blessing in disguise since people won't be too quick to predict him winning all the time and may actually describe him as an over the hill player.