Roger Federer

Wobbly Nadal, Resurgent Djokovic, Stranger Federer Ready For Intriguing Italian Championships

The Internazionali BNL d’Italia, or the Italian Championships in Rome, is the fifth ATP Masters 1000 event of the year and the last big test before the start of the French Open, the second major championship of the year. This year’s tournament is full of intrigue that will provide for many dramatic moments.

Perhaps the biggest surprise and question mark leading into the event is the form of Rafael Nadal. The “King of Clay” and eight-time tournament winner is in the worst clay-court slump of his career, winning only nine matches on his favorite dirt surface so for this season and had not even reached a final in his three previous clay-court events. He lost to Fabio Fognini handily in the semifinals of Monte Carlo, in straight sets again in the semifinals of the Barcelona Open and to Stefanos Tsitsipas.

Is this spurt of mediocre play an indication that the soon-to-be 33-year-old Nadal is finally starting to wear down and perhaps may be closer to retirement than we think or will the Mallorcan channel his frustration and anger at poor results by his lofty standards that will he win for a ninth time in Rome and again later in Paris for a 12th time?
Last year, Nadal also wobbled into Rome, following a quarterfinal loss to Thiem in Madrid, but recovered to win his eighth title in Rome, beating defending champion Alexander Zverev in the final.

This will be his 15th consecutive appearance in Rome and he comes in with a 56-6 career record (8-2 in finals). He has advanced to the quarterfinals or better in 13 of his previous 14 visits to the Italian capital. Nadal will attempt to become the first player on the ATP Tour this year to defend a title from last season.

The Rome field features 17 of the top 20 players including former champions Nadal, an eight-time winner, Novak Djokovic, a four-time champion, and 2017 winner Alexander Zverev. These three account for 13 of the past 14 titles. Djokovic, fresh off his important win in Madrid, is aiming to hoist the Rome trophy for the first time since 2015, after losses in the final in 2016 (to Andy Murray) and 2017 (to Zverev), and a semifinal loss to Nadal last year. Last Monday started the 250th week the Serb was at No. 1 in the ATP Rankings.

The most intriguing entry in the Rome field this year is Roger Federer, who is making his first appearance at the event since 2016. It is one of the very few events in his career that he has not won. His last showing in Rome was a third-round loss to Dominic Thiem on May 12, 2016. That loss to Thiem was the Swiss star’s last clay-court match at any event until he played in Madrid this past week, where he reached the quarterfinals before falling to Thiem once again.

After his win on Monte Carlo, top Italian Fognini is on the verge of cracking the top 10 and is a legitimate contender for his home nation’s title. Fognini, however, is only 10-11 lifetime in Rome, with last year’s quarterfinal as his best result. The last Italian in the ATP Rankings Top 10 was Corrado Barrazzutti on January 22 1979 and Fognini would have to likely better his quarterfinal result to jump into the top 10. The last home country player to win the most prestigious title in Italy was Adriano Panatta in 1976.

Stefanos Tsitsipas of Greece comes into Rome as the ATP Tour match wins leader, earning his 27th win of the season with his semifinal victory over Nadal at Madrid. Tsitsipas was ranked No. 43 at Rome in 2018, and had to qualify for last year’s main draw. His win in Portugal on the clay earlier this season and his final-round effort in Madrid make him a tennis betting contender for the title in Rome and later this year in Paris.

Who Will Win Wimbledon 2019?

The Grand Slam tournaments are always eagerly anticipated by tennis fans and there is none quite like Wimbledon. It is considered by many to be the most prestigious of the Grand Slams and is the only one left played on grass. People always speculate as to who will win each of the tournaments and the eyes of the world will no doubt turn once more to London in June to see who can take home the Wimbledon Cup.

Who to Pick?
If you are thinking of getting involved with a little sports betting then you will need to know a little more about each of the players. Let’s take a look at some of the names swirling around in the mix so you have a clearer idea about who will come out on top in the Men’s Final at Wimbledon in 2019.

Andy Murray
The Scot has done well at Wimbledon over the years, having won the cup twice, but he has been plagued with injuries recently. He announced that he would soon be retiring after the Australian Open. It is thought that one last tournament at Wimbledon is likely to be his final game and the British public will be very mournful to see it come to pass.

Novak Djokovic
The current reigning champ of Wimbledon and the winner of the Australian Open for 2019, it seems likely that we will at least see him in the final. However, Djokovic has a tendency to become slightly complacent when he is on a winning streak as he currently is. If he is to take home his fifth Wimbledon win, he will need to make sure he concentrates.

Rafael Nadal
Nadal plays much better on clay than he does on grass which is why he has won distinctly more French Open titles than others. Though he has won at Wimbledon before, this was last in 2010. We can expect him to do exceptionally well at Wimbledon but it is doubtful that he will manage to secure a win.

Roger Federer
The last member of the Big Four is feeling confident after his 100th overall win and Wimbledon might be the place for him to secure it. Grass is one of Federer’s best terrains, having netted him an incredible 8 wins at Wimbledon before. Federer and Djokovic have met previously 47 times with 15 of those matches being at Grand Slams. While Djokovic is tipped to win, it cannot be denied that Federer is the better player on grass, meaning that a final with these two powerhouses is likely to be a very interesting match indeed.

Alexander Zverev
If anyone is likely to beat Federer or Djokovic to a place in the final, it is likely to be Zverev. The German player is already tipped to be a future World No.1 and he is eager for his first Grand Slam win. While he is yet to take a title on grass, he has got the drive to succeed and this season will certainly show that.

Kevin Anderson
One half of the historic 2018 Men’s semi-final match that lasted an astonishing 6 hours and 36 minutes (the second-longest men’s singles match ever played at Wimbledon), Anderson has proved himself to be a strong player. The South African has seen several Gran Slam tournaments over the years and, while we do not expect him to reach the finals again, we can certainly see him performing well once more.

John Isner
The other player in the 2018 Men’s semi-final and also one half of the longest professional tennis match in history, clocking in at 11 hours and 5 minutes of play over three days, has been consistently favourable in his past years in tournaments. He has managed to win against some of the top players before. Like Anderson, it is unlikely that we will see him win big at Wimbledon but we can expect him to have a great performance once again.

Kyle Edmund
The current British No.1 has been growing in strength over the past few years and it is likely that we are soon going to see him succeed at a high Grand Slam level. Despite a somewhat poor appearance at the Australian Open in 2019, we can expect him to improve as the season continues. It has been noted on multiple occasions that Edmund’s forehand is one of the best in play today. If he can work on other areas of his play then he is likely to be a force to be reckoned with in the future.

Dominic Thiem
Having appeared in the French Open Final and US Open quarterfinal, we can expect some great things from this Austrian player and current world No. 4. On clay, he has already proven himself to be a formidable opponent; including Nadal and Federer. He is likely to dominate in the Clay Opens in the future but we can expect him to deliver a solid performance at Wimbledon this year.

Borna Ćorić
The Croatian player managed to reach World No.2 in November 2018 but is currently residing at No.13. Nevertheless, he has a consistently positive performance. The fact that he has already reached the heights of No.2 without a Grand Slam win to his name shows his capabilities as a player. He has never broken out of the rounds at Wimbledon thus far, but 2019 will be a good year to watch his career go from strength to strength.

Who Will Win?

It is fair to say that we will see the Wimbledon Cup lifted by either Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer or Alexander Zverev. These three players are definitely the ones to watch as we move towards Wimbledon. The last time someone other than the Big Four won Wimbledon was in 2002. In the sixteen tournaments since then, these top tennis players have passed the cup back and forth between them. Despite it being more likely that Djokovic or Federer will win, it will be extremely interesting whether or not Zverev will be the one to finally break this epic winning streak.

In His Latter Years, Roger Federer Can Accept Losing Just As Much As Winning

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

Since his comeback in 2017, after sitting out for the latter six months of the 2016 season with a knee injury, Roger Federer has been riding on the wave of unpredictability to the fullest. Not that it was not the case before the ill-fated 2016 season, but his professional timeline has come to be cleanly divided along the ever-in-vogue theme of before and after.

That Federer turned back time and continued to do that for much of 2017, and for extended portions in 2018, which included him adding a couple of more weeks to his already existing record as the world No. 1, then, extinguished the idea of the Swiss player being done for good on the ATP Tour. Alongside, it also left many wanting more from him in terms of his results – as if seeking a reassurance that the Federer of old, harking back to his peak in the early 2000s, had finally returned.

Reality, however, has been quite different from such labeling. For while, Federer did seem to control time at the start of 2017, it caught up with him as the months sped by. And across these months, the two have been engaged in the tussle that marked Federer’s career right up to the time his knee gave away.

What we now see when he takes to the courts is a tangible demonstration of him trying to wrestle time trying to reassert his say over an entity that answers to none. Ergo, the display of good days and bad days of play in matches.

Euphoria of him holding aloft his 100th title at the Dubai Open left behind any naysaying the Australian Open fourth-round loss to Stefanos Tsitsipas – who, incidentally was the same player who had ended his two-year run of dominance at Melbourne Park – but it only briefly covered the weaknesses in his game, which once again made themselves known at the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, especially in the final.

The title in Dubai conveniently camouflaged the fact that it took Federer a couple of matches to settle in, in the tournament. It also tamped down on the certainty that the 37-year-old had started to miss a step or two, even though he more than made up for it with experience-filled subtlety and shrewdness. And while, Federer did well to make it to the Indian Wells final, this dissonance proved to be one time too much.

The aftermath of the result in Indian Wells has heightened the murmuration of dismay around the 20-time Slam champion. And though it has not yet risen to the level as seen before-2016, it is no less vehement than how it used to be then. This cacophony of scepticism growing louder, then, forms the crux of the matter at hand. As to Federer being held to such high standards which essentially omit the basic fact that he is human like others – prone to getting beaten and sidestepped by time – which include facing losses, as an athlete.

One aspect where Federer has made his peace with time can then be seen in how he puts his defeats in perspective. Where before, the champion in him scoffed at losses as if he were unable to bear that stain clotting his otherwise pristine scroll of wins, he now understands that defeats are the other side of victories and there is nothing wrong in accepting them as such. ‘

Federer’s statements in his post-final press conference in Indian Wells reiterated as much. “Maybe that’s why I’m okay with it…, because I felt like I’m actually playing, you know, good tennis. Like, in Australia, I wasn’t too down on myself because I feel like my game is there, my body is there.” He added, “I think when you feel that way, you know, you take it more, how do you say, positively? I don’t know how to explain, but it’s just not as dramatic. Whereas, when you’re hurt and things are difficult and, you know, that maybe those hurt more. I’m not sure.”

When seen from this context, Federer’s career has come to epitomise If’s verse that is well-known among the sport’s followers. And if, Roger Federer can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two imposters just the same, why cannot the world, too?

Indian Wells Kicks Off 30th Year of ATP Masters 1000 Tennis

The 2019 BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells, California ushers in the 30th year of the ATP Tour branding these elite events as “Masters 1000” events. Remember when they were called “The Super Nine?”
Indian Wells is one of seven of these such events that have been part of this elite status since the start of the modern-day ATP Tour in 1990, along with Miami, Monte Carlo, Rome, Canada, Cincinnati and Paris.

Both Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer are vying for a record-breaking sixth Indian Wells title and Djokovic will also be looking to equal Rafael Nadal’s record of 33 ATP Masters 1000 titles. Nadal also seeks a sixth trophy overall in the desert, but he has only won three singles at Indian Wells to go with two doubles titles.

Last March in Indian Wells, Novak Djokovic lost his opener to 109th-ranked qualifier Taro Daniel of Japan. Djokovic returns in 2019 as the world No. 1 and champion of the last three major tournaments and two of the last three ATP Masters 1000 events. Djokovic has not played since winning his seventh Australian Open title on January 27.

Federer held three championship points to make it six titles in Indian Wells before losing to Juan Martin del Potro in 2018. Federer enters the event on a hot streak after winning the 100th title of his career in Dubai on March 2 defeating Stefanos Tsitsipas in the final. Federer has defeated 50 different opponents for his 100 titles — 25 of whom are now retired. A fascinating stat regarding Federer and his chief rival Nadal – this marks the first time these two are playing at the same ATP Tour event (non Grand Slam event) for the first time since the 2017 Nitto ATP Finals. Federer is on a five-match win streak against Nadal, including a 6-2, 6-3 victory at 2017 Indian Wells. The two rivals could meet in the semi-finals on 16 March.

Australian Open Proves There Is Still A Ways To Go For The “Changing Of The Guard”

by Rajagopalan Rohinee

As the 2019 Australian Open concludes, one of the biggest upsets of the tournament was that of Roger Federer. The two-time defending champion’s fourth-round defeat to Stefanos Tsitsipas set the ball rolling anew about changing of the guard and how Federer’s – and his other peers’ – time had come to an end.

Yet, as it turned out in the days after Federer’s upset, the old guard remained as they were – with Novak Djokovic defeating Rafael Nadal for the men’s title – even as the youngsters kept dropping off, one-by-one as the draw narrowed further. Until eventually, the two others who reached the penultimate stage of the tournament – Stefanos Tsitsipas and Lucas Pouille – got quite a lesson as to how they were expected to play at that point.

The concept of changing of the guard, too, has taken a lunging step backwards at this point. To that end, it is following the usual chain of events that usually transpire in an event. Each time that one among Federer, Nadal and Djokovic loses – and a Next Gen player wins – in a tournament, or a tournament; the narrative repeats itself. But, the moment any of them wins an event, the younger players get relegated to the backburner even as the legendary status of these players is cemented further. As such, suffice to say, the idea that there is a change of guard happening in the upper echelons of the game will soon reappear as the season progresses from beyond the Australian swing. And, at this point, it has honestly begun to get slightly tiresome.

All this, however, is not to say that the youngsters are not making their way through. But that there is an attempt to conflate expectations and reality, without considering the time factor needed to merge the two into a single entity. For example: in the last few years, Alexander Zverev has been a steady presence in the top ATP rankings with a slew of titles backing his credentials. Yet, his results in the majors have been disappointing – although not for want of trying.

Much as Zverev himself ponders about the dichotomy of his results otherwise in the ATP events and at the majors, for the numerous others who have directed their scrutiny at him, the takeaway ought to be that not keep harping on it and rather, let him figure it out for himself with his team. The same case can be made for Hyeon Chung – who after a surprisingly great run at the 2018 Australian Open has been laid low with injuries and inconsistent performances – and more recently, for Stefanos Tsitsipas.

In case of the Greek, the highs after his win over Federer – and Roberto Bautista Agut in the quarter-final – came cascading down in his lopsided 6-2, 6-4, 6-0 semi-final loss to Nadal. In a curious admission about the result, Tsitsipas observed in the post-match press conference, “I don’t know, I feel very strange. I feel happy with my performance in this tournament, but at the same time I feel disappointed. I feel like I could do a bit better today. I don’t know. That’s how I felt. But it’s a very, very weird feeling. Almost felt like just couldn’t play better. I don’t know.”

The rest of his press conference followed along the same lines with Tsitsipas outlining Nadal’s game-plan during the match and his inability to deal with the tactics employed. As far as analysis went, it was needed. But considering that Tsitsipas had faced Nadal twice before – as recently as in 2018 – and had lost both matches to him, he needed to have a strategy worked out to cover all his problematic areas against the Spaniard. Most importantly, as befitting the ranks of a player ushering in a new era, he needed to adjust his strategy right there, on the court, when the ones he had been employing were not working effectively against Nadal.

At the moment, this is the biggest differentiator between these multiple-time champions and the new players. The older players’ acumen in manipulating their tactics to put their opponents on the back-foot, then, is not something that can be gained in a match or two. It takes years to put together and even then, it is not perfect at all times.
But, in case of losses, it is the experience-wrought capability to reset their games that has made them so dominant, year-on-year and season-after-season. Even for Federer, despite his loss which has not been his first, and which will not be his last either.

The Richest Tennis Players Of All Time

The game of tennis has been blessed with a lot of talented players. However, some of these players have become big names in terms of performances and how much they earn. Many people might already know that Tennis players make a lot of money from the number of games they play. Well, that might be true, but the real money comes from the sponsorship deals they sign with reputable brands in the world. Did you know that you can get free online slots related to tennis at any online casino?

Some players also get their money from endorsement deals. The media also plays a significant role in promoting good players. TV rights are also included in the net worth of a Tennis player. Moreover, you might be wondering who the most paid or richest tennis player is. Well, there are many rich tennis players. But for today we will highlight to you the most decorated players in the game.

Ion Tiriac: $2 Billion

Tiriac was not a brilliant single player compared to the now famous Roger Federer. He was more brilliant in double and he became very successful winning 22 titles in his career and that includes the prestigious French Open. He would have been a player to bet real money on back in the day.
He later retired from Tennis and he became a businessman. In 2007 he became the first Romanian to be included on the Forbes Billionaire list. He owns a lot of businesses such as insurance companies, banking and travel industries.

Roger Federer: $450 million

Roger has been involved in tennis’s most fierce battles with Nadal. Roger Federer has become one of the best tennis players and is among the richest tennis players of all time. He has gone on to win 20 Grand Slam titles in his career, hence sports betting players they like betting on him at online casinos in South Africa, he very good at what he do.

Serena Williams $180 million

The Williams sister has done astound well in her career. We are not surprised and neither should you that she has that kind of net worth. She has been ranked 183rd in WTA since she gave birth to her daughter. Nevertheless, she has done exceptionally well in her career and most of the credit will always be showered to her father. We reckon you know the upbringing of the Williams sisters. If you don’t know then that’s a story for another day.

Alexander Zverev Shocks Novak Djokovic To Win ATP Finals In London

Alexander Zverev became the youngest champion ever at the year-end ATP Finals in a decade with his comprehensive upset of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic 6-4, 6-3 in the final.

The title marked the biggest career win for the 21-year-old German, who began working with tennis legend Ivan Lendl in late August.

Zverev became the youngest player to win at the ATP’s season finale since Djokovic in 2008. He was the first German to win the title since Boris Becker in 1995.

“This is the biggest title of my career so far. This trophy means a lot, everything, to all the players. I mean, you only have so many chances of winning it. You play against the best players only,” Zverev said. “How I played today, how I won it, for me it’s just amazing.”

One year ago, Zverev made his debut at elite eight-player event in London, falling short of reaching the semifinals. The 10-time ATP tournament title champion beat six-time champion Roger Federer in straight sets on Saturday in the semifinals. It’s the first time a player has beaten both Djokovic and Federer at the same Nitto ATP Finals. Zverev’s the first player to beat the Top 2 seeds in the semifinals and final of the event since Andre Agassi in 1990.

“It’s quite astonishing, winning this title, beating two such players back-to-back, Roger and Novak, in semi-finals and final,” Zverev said. “It means so much. I’m incredibly happy and incredibly proud of this moment right now.”

Paris Is Turning Into Novak Djokovic’s Kind of Town

Paris is a special town for Novak Djokovic.

It is the scene of perhaps his greatest triumph in pro tennis when he won the 2016 French Open to finally complete his career Grand Slam –and his “Novak Slam” where he held all four major titles at the same time, a feat that had not been achieved since 1969 by Rod Laver.

Since Djokovic reached his career height at Roland Garros in 2016, he struggled with injuries, burnout and off-court issues, but amazingly rebounded to the top of the game after his ranking dropped to No. 22 in May of this year. Now, Paris is the scene of another major career achievement for the Serbian maestro.

The Rolex Paris Masters event in Paris, the second-to-last ATP event of the year, marks the event where Djokovic returns to the No. 1 ranking, becoming the the first player to have his ranking move to No. 1 after being ranked outside of the top 20. Djokivic has won this prestigious indoor event four times – in 2009, 2013, 2014 and 2015 – and is trending upward in his return to the No. 1 ranking. Based on his current form, and storied history at the event, Djokovic is the clear tennis betting favorite to win a fifth Rolex Paris Masters title.

Roger Federer, who faces Djokovic in a blockbuster semifinal, will look to win for the second straight week after winning the title in his hometown of Basel, Switzerland the previous week. A win in Paris would mark his 100th career singles title, second to only Jimmy Connors and his 109 titles on the men’s all-time list. In 2011, Federer won his 70th career singles title in Paris, beating Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the final.

While most eyes will be on Djokovic and Federer, the Rolex Paris Masters is the site of some unpredictable results and the other semifinalists in the top half, Dominic Thiem and Karen Khachanov, could also surprise. Last year at the event, Jack Sock of the United States captured the title beating another Serb, Filip Krajinovic, in the final.

Novak Djokovic Return To Top Can Revitalise Men’s Tennis

Nobody would have begrudged seeing Roger Federer lift his eighth Wimbledon title last year, nor would anyone have felt the Swiss master didn’t deserve to hit Slam number 20 in Australia in January. In a similar fashion, we sat back and marvelled at Rafael Nadal taking his 11th title on the clay of Roland Garros in May.

However, while we are lucky to live in an era of greats in the men’s game, there was something processionary about the Grand Slams in recent times, as if we were simply waiting to crown Federer or Nadal, even before the tournament started.

Last month at Wimbledon, Novak Djokovic served us a timely reminder that he too should be mentioned among the all-time greats. His 13th Slam was wrapped up with the minimum of fuss against Kevin Anderson, but it was the semi-final, a five-set epic against Nadal, that really showed us how much we missed the unflappable Serb.

Bookmakers were quick to act on Djokovic seemingly putting those injury woes behind him and making his way back to the top, with 888sport putting him as favourite in the 2018 outright US Open odds. The Serb comes in at 11/4 at the moment, with Nadal and Federer both at 7/2. That’s pretty tight, suggesting the odds-setters feel anyone of the three could win. Indeed, any suspicion of a niggle or slight injury, and those odds could change.
Odds show competitiveness is back

However, seeing three players right at the top of the betting markets is good news for the men’s game. We must remember that that in the last two Slams, Nadal was odds-on for the French Open and Federer was a very short price (around 13/8) to win Wimbledon. Having Djokovic back adds another dimension to the elite level of the game.
Of course, nobody is ruling out a push from players outside this celebrated trio: Alexander Zverev, a player who keeps promising to fully bloom, is priced at 9/1, Del Potro is available at 10/1. Andy Murray, whose injury problems are hopefully behind him, is also available at 10/1, but match sharpness may elude the former world number one.

Put simply, the upcoming US Open (27th August – 9th September) feels like the first Grand Slam in a while where we do not have an overwhelming favourite from the outset. Having Djokovic, Federer and Nadal all fit will also open up some subplots: Can Federer extend his record of Slams to 21? Can Nadal rein Federer in by winning his 18th? Can Djokovic equal Pete Sampras’ tally of 14 titles and regain his place at the top of the game.

‘Big 4’ could return to dominance
For all the talk of dominance of individuals over the past 15 years, it is also the rivalry within the ‘Big 4’ that has made men’s tennis, at times, unmissable. You’ll have to go back to 2012 to see the last time when the ‘Big 4’ each won a Grand Slam in the same season, but it was also an era when it was also incredibly difficult to predict who would come out on top, Nadal at Roland Garros excepted.

With Djokovic seemingly back to full fitness and, hopefully, Murray also getting healthy, we could be in for a treat over the next couple of years. Wimbledon sewed the seeds of some great rivalries to be re-established, let’s hope we, as fans, reap the benefit, starting in New York in a few weeks.

How Roger Federer Differs From Other Age-Defying Elite Athletes

Jeff Bercovici had just undergone emergency surgery when he pondered the question.

At a time when it has never been physically harder to be a professional sportsperson, why is it that many of the best ones are also the oldest?

Bercovici had injured his back after pushing himself too hard when playing soccer “a few times a week” at a local league in Brooklyn.

The likes of Roger Federer – who is 8/11 in the tennis betting to win his ninth Wimbledon title – LeBron James and Tom Brady, meanwhile, have continued to succeed “well past what would’ve been considered the peak age for their sports a generation ago”.

Bercovici, a journalist, realised after doing “a little bit of research” that his personal curiosity could become a professional endeavour, and in 2018 he published his first book, Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age.

“It’s a look inside this phenomenon we’re seeing in the world of sports,” he says, “and how sports science is the driver of that phenomenon.”

Bercovici, who spoke to ex-players, coaches and experts in “training, nutrition, psychology, surgery, other therapies, sports tech and genetics”, says the “single most powerful force” in extending athletes’ careers has been the shift to maximising their freshness, rather than fitness.

“The amount of time players devote to different recovery techniques now versus what they did 15 years ago is not even remotely comparable,” he says.

Take LeBron James, who has just enjoyed the finest season of his 15-year NBA career at the age of 33, playing the most minutes of any player in the league.

“After every single game of the NBA Finals, he’d give this press conference and the word that came out of his mouth most was ‘treatment’,” says Bercovici.

“So, he’s talking about a variety of different things, from ice baths and cryotherapy, to cupping, electrical stimulation and laser stimulation.”

While those technologies – which are typically pioneered by the military or private tech companies, but rely on stars such as James to “evangelise” them – do accelerate physical recovery, they also perform another important role.

“Athletes are much smarter now about not over-training, yet they still have this really strong commission bias,” says Bercovici. “They want to do, do, do as much as they can to improve their performance.”

He cites the training regime of an in-his-prime Tiger Woods, which famously included long-distance running, heavy weight sessions, several hours at the driving range and 18 holes of golf every single day.

“Now, everyone knows that’s a really good way to wear down your body,” says Bercovici, “so instead, they lift in the gym for 90 minutes, then they go to the hot tub, the cold tub and all that kind of stuff.

“It’s not necessarily helping them recover faster, but being focused on recovery rather than on doing more training is absolutely extending their careers.”

No career has been extended as beautifully as Roger Federer’s, who recently returned to No. 1 in the men’s world rankings, just weeks before his 37th birthday.

Bercovici believes that, despite being “totally consistent with all trends I tracked throughout this book”, Federer is “probably the most incredible example of longevity and durability in all of sports”.

That’s because his endurance is a consequence of how he plays the game.

“If you were designing a tennis player from scratch, you would create Roger Federer,” says Bercovici.

“If you talk to a kinesiologist, what they will tell you helps explain a large portion of his longevity. He intuitively plays in this style that is both beautiful and conducive to him maintaining an unprecedented level of health. I think he’s the great tennis genius of all time.”

Bercovici recalls a decade-old quote about Federer which describes his footsteps during matches as being “like a ghost”.

“Well before people were talking about how this guy avoids injuries or how amazing his longevity is, he was practising this form of movement that’s so different from everyone else’s and so much more sustainable,” he says.
Bercovici, who is fit again after using some of the methods explored in Play On to rehabilitate his back, learned over the course of writing the book that every enduring athlete has one thing in common: a love of their sport.

“It’s sounds like a cliché,” he says, “but there’s a reason it’s not.

“To be an elite athlete, the first gate to pass through is that you have to be able to take a game and treat it like it’s a job. You have to take all the fun and spontaneity out of it.

“So, if someone has passed through that gate and then 20 years on they still have that sense of fun, that’s really, really, incredibly rare. And that’s what unites these people who are still working incredibly hard approaching 40.”
Jeff’s book, Play On: The New Science of Elite Performance at Any Age, is out now.