Are there more cons than pros for shortening ATP season?
One person you will not find moaning about the length of the tennis season is Roger Federer.
While the ATP have trumpeted their decision to reduce the men’s season by two weeks to create a seven-week off-season, the 16-times grand slam champion has shown so far at the ATP World Tour finals that, at 29, he is feeling as fresh as ever.
Straight set victories over David Ferrer, Andy Murray and Robin Soderling put the Swiss into the semi-finals seemingly without breaking sweat and his record since losing in the Wimbledon final has been hugely impressive.
In fact, despite giving the new schedule, that will not take effect until 2012, a general thumbs up, you get the feeling Federer would be happier if it was left alone.
One of the greatest athletes ever to play tennis, Federer tends to suffer less injuries than other players and a longer off-season might help other close the class gap that is still so apparent most times he steps out on court.
“I think I’ve shown a lot of grit at the end of the season throughout my career,” Federer said after his 6-4 6-2 victory over a fatigued-looking Murray.
“This is the ninth time I’m qualifying and the ninth time also playing, the ninth time I’m playing through groups. I find an extra gear at the end of the year when the season is so long.”
Federer also said earlier this week that he preferred a longer season and suggested that condensing the calendar could actually cause more problems that it solves.
“Will we have less injuries because the calendar is more packed?” he asked. “We love the grind, we love the travel.
“I wouldn’t want it any other way. I did it for 10 years and I’m ready to do it for another 10 years if I have to. It’s not a problem.”
That could be bad news for those of his rivals who hope the Swiss may be nearing the end of his extrordianary career.
PHOTO: Federer takes off his headband after winning his singles match against Soderling at the ATP World Tour Finals. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth