Last week Roger Federer broke even more records as he won his eighth Wimbledon title. The 35-year-old Swiss star picked up his 19th slam title and second of the year, all while returning from a knee injury which took him out of the sport for six months.
We all know he is world class but his ability to perform at such a high level for so many years and still win the way that he does is nothing short of a miracle. Or is it?
After reading a few articles and interviews from Roger it is very clear that the man still has the same amount of passion and desire to play and win tennis matches as when he first picked up a racket, but he is also realistic. He has adapted his training and playing schedule to suit his own body and here is how he did it.
Firstly, he took an extended break where others, like Nadal and Murray, may have rushed back too soon. Roger understood what it took for his body to fully recover and not break down as soon as he returned to the competitive circuit.
Rather than thinking he might only have a year or two left in him he took some extra time to rehabilitate and train so that he could not only compete but win slams for many more years.
I often see people rushing back from injury (myself included). We put ourselves under so much pressure to return to training.
It doesn’t matter if you are playing sport or looking to get back into your gym class, you must follow and trust the process your body needs to return to its functional self pre-injury.
If you don’t then you are running the risk of re-injuring yourself and in most cases making it even worse than the first time.
A perfect example of this in the tennis world was Nadal. Due to his high explosive play he put his body through so much trauma that he eventually broke down. Instead of taking time off from his first injury he rushed back thinking he was ready, only to break down again and again until he was forced to take a lengthy leave of absence from the sport.
The next smart move Roger took was choosing his battles.
This year he decided not to play any clay matches and pull out of the French Open.
In an interview he said “I have to pick my moments where I can peak and stay healthy. Also, part of the situation was that my knee was really strange on the clay last year, so being away from the clay as much as possible maybe is a good thing”.
When you read this statement it makes perfect sense why he pulled out. He was even praised by his peers.
Djokovic said, “You know, he’s very smart in his decision-making… He knows what he’s doing. Of course he’s aware he has a much better chance to win big trophies on quicker surfaces.”
It sounds so simple but simple isn’t always easy to follow.
We can all fall into the trap that more is better, thinking if we push that bit more or carry out that extra session it will leave us in a better place.
But don’t be rushed into these decisions by what other people are doing or what others are telling you to do.
You and only you know your limit and when enough is enough. There are times when we need someone to push us along but don’t let them force you.
Make the right decisions that are best for you but at the same time don’t cheat yourself, you still need to put in the effort.
It’s worth remembering that our health and fitness journeys are not just the length of time we are competing in sport or reaching a short term goal.
The true measure of your health and fitness is the longevity in which you can sustain it.
There will be times when you will push your body to the max, which can be a good thing, but you must always think about the long term goal – can you live the rest of your life fit and healthy to do the things that you want to do?
If you can do that, then you’re onto a winner.