After restful summer, Federer in the swing heading into Open
ABS-CBN Sports on Aug 29, 2015 09:07 AM
(AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
AP Sports Writer
CINCINNATI (AP) — Roger Federer isn't in such a rush anymore. He's doing things his way and taking time to savor each moment.
After losing to Novak Djokovic in the Wimbledon final, he took a month off from tournament play to be with his family and visit Africa as part of his charity work. The break seemed to work for the 34-year-old Swiss star.
Federer returned to the court in Cincinnati last week and won the tournament in dominating fashion, moving him up to the No. 2 seed in the U.S. Open. And when he had his seventh Cincinnati trophy in hand, he headed over to his family in the stands to enjoy the moment with them.
The network television interview? It could wait a few minutes.
He's no longer rushing on to the next thing.
"I just let it settle a bit more," Federer said in an interview with The Associated Press after he won his latest title Sunday. "I take the time to celebrate, to be quite honest."
A rested and ready Federer also has added a few wrinkles to his game heading into the U.S. Open, a tournament he has won five times but not since 2008. He'll be in a different bracket than Djokovic, whom he beat in straight sets in the Cincinnati finals.
A new Federer for New York?
"I love coming to New York, but also again I'm quite happy to leave it again because every week in New York is intense," Federer told the AP. "It's busy. A lot of people, tourists, a lot of traffic. On the same side, I love that. The energy in the city is just unbelievable.
"You walk around and you see things you don't see in other places. I like New York, what it offers: museums, restaurants, places to stop and shop and visit. So much to do there. And of course the tournament is one of my favorite ones on tour, I must be quiet honest."
He's one of the more intriguing players in this one, given how he's spent his summer.
Federer has adjusted his playing schedule the last few years, giving him a chance to spend more time with his wife and children. It's also been a way for him to manage the stress on his 30-something body.
For the first time, he decided to skip the Rogers Cup in Canada this month, staying in Switzerland to work out instead. Normally he uses the tournament to begin honing his game for the hard-court season.
Instead, he showed up in Cincinnati for his first matches since Wimbledon and was sensational, especially on his serve. Federer won all 10 sets during the week and wasn't broken in 39 service games. He faced only three break points all tournament, a remarkable statistic.
He looked fresh. And his game looked a little different, too.
Federer started coming to the net more often after an opponent's second serve, trying to force the issue and shorten points. It worked so well that he's considering continuing with it.
"I see it more as a challenge for me and more fun for me rather than just focusing on my opponent," Federer said. "That's why I'm having a different approach. Maybe it's just going to be this week, maybe it's going to be in New York. I think it's going to give me some good ideas moving forward from here."
Djokovic noticed the change in Federer, who felt comfortable enough to try new things on Cincinnati's fast courts.
"Yes, he definitely is coming more forward to the net and trying to shorten the points," Djokovic said. "He does so well, and he obviously had to make some tactical changes and kind of adjust to the new generation of players."
After watching Federer's play in Cincinnati, it wouldn't surprise Djokovic if he makes another deep run at the U.S. Open even though he's spent so little time on court lately.
"He's still very dominant," Djokovic said. "He's reaching final stages of the Grand Slams and big events. You know that he's always going to play on a high level, so he always makes you work for your win."
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