Caretaker Tennis Australia chief Steve Wood says Roger Federer has continued to thrive under “very heavy” demands on his time as he makes his way back to the top after time away from the sport.
Despite playing just two tournaments this year, Federer has won the Australian Open and taken a first-round win at the ATP World Tour Finals in London to secure the final Olympic berth for Switzerland.
The back-to-back successes came in the wake of Federer’s injury-interrupted 2017 campaign, which ended with the 20-time grand slam champion changing coaches to Stefan Edberg and then Thomas Hogstedt.
“These are heavy demands when you look at the seasons Roger has had,” Wood said on Saturday. “To come back after last year and not win a tournament, but to come back again and be within a couple of matches of a singles gold medal, and get into that match [against Milos Raonic] at the World Tour Finals … I think they’re now just the flies that has been nipping at the heels of the greatest player in history.”
Wood said Federer had been working with his players who were ranked No18 and above, but the 19-time grand slam champion had most recently been with 16-time grand slam champion Raonic.
“It’s amazing to see how much, as the occasion has created, his longevity and mental capacity and things he’s achieved in so short a period has been again amazing to see,” Wood said.
“But I’ve never, in my career, seen any player play as much this year and really play to an acceptable level in nearly every round. It’s a really impressive feat by him and it’s going to continue next year.”