Hungover Roger Federer calls on next generation to add more variety
A hungover Roger Federer has called on the next generation of players in men's tennis to add more variety to their game if they want to surpass the ageing champions.
Swiss maestro Federer made one last appearance at the All England Club on Monday (Tuesday NZ time) after clinching a record eighth Wimbledon title with a straight sets victory over Croatian Marin Cilic.
Federer spoke candidly to the media on a number of topics but not before admitting he was not feeling 100 per cent having attended the Champions Dinner and then continuing celebrations until 5am at a central London location.
"My head's ringing," he said. "I don't know what I did last night. I drank too many types of drinks, I guess.
"After the ball we went to – what would you call it? I guess it's a bar – and there were almost 30 to 40 friends that were there.
"So we had a great time. Got to bed at five, then woke up, and just didn't feel good. The last hour or so I'm somewhat OK again. So I'm happy with that. We had a good time."
Backing up his win at the Australian Open earlier this year, Federer's Wimbledon triumph was the 19th Grand Slam crown of his storied career.
It also continued the stranglehold 35-year-old Federer, 31-year-old Rafael Nadal and 30-year-old duo Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray have had on the men's game for more than a decade.
The oldest of that bunch estimated it was a reign that had been greatly assisted by younger players favouring an approach that has them rooted to the baseline and unwilling to come forward.
"Every generation definitely is different. Since my generation and Rafa's generation, yes, the next one hasn't been strong enough to push all of us out really," Federer said. "So that has been helpful for us to stick around.
"They can choose not to play that way, if the coach has taught them to play differently. I know you can easily get sucked into that mode when you don't want to attack, but if you can't volley you are not going to go to the net.
"Almost every player here I played wouldn't serve and volley, it's frightening to me, to see this at this level, I look at the stats and go into whatever round it is and see that the guy I'm going to face is playing two per cent of serve and volley throughout the championship.
"I'm going, 'OK, I know he's not going to serve and volley', which is great ... I wish that we would see more coaches, more players taking chances up at the net, because good things do happen there."
Federer, though, did believe the depth in the men's game was as great as it had ever been and sided with the younger crop on one issue.
Unlike when he was an up-and-coming player, lower-ranked players who beat a top player in the early rounds of a tournament do not make a substantial move up the rankings unless they carry on to go deep into the event.
Including the likes of countryman Stan Wawrinka and Cilic in the mix, Federer said the variety of playing styles among the game's elite meant it was difficult for young players to reach finals and win titles.
"I grew up with bonus points, believe it or not, back in the 90s. I remember playing Pat Rafter on Suzanne Lenglen in Paris and I was playing for double points in grand slams. I think it was 45 to beat a player [ranked] between two and five. It was like 90 points just to beat Pat and then take the points of the round.
"Of course sometimes you couldn't defend those points the following year, so it was complex. But it was great for a big-court player to play a big guy and beat him there.
"What I feel is a bit wrong in the rankings system is, if you have a great run and play a quarters, like Andy did, for instance, fought, loses in five sets, walks away with 360 points. I walk away with 2000 points. I feel the gap's too big.
"That's why, by playing little and making so many points at slam level, it puts me in a totally different situation. I can really start picking and choosing my moments when to attack [the rankings]."