Federer puts high injury count down to 'coincidence'
Roger Federer believes the high level of injuries on the ATP Tour is mainly a "coincidence" and says players have to take responsibility for managing their bodies.
Former world number one Andy Murray is the highest profile absentee from the upcoming Australian Open after opting to undergo surgery on his troublesome hip.
Novak Djokovic has also been a fitness doubt in the build-up to Melbourne having not played competitively since last year's Wimbledon with an elbow problem, while Kei Nishikori (wrist) is out and Stan Wawrinka (knee) is struggling to be fit.
Rafael Nadal, who himself has contended with knee soreness since the end of last season, earlier this week called on the ATP to look into why so many injuries are being suffered by the world's best players.
But 19-time grand slam champion Federer - who missed six months with a knee injury in 2016 - is not sure there is an underlying reason for the glut of absentees.
"I mean, for me it was a coincidence, you know. Then again, I guess it's a little bit normal, too, not to be always 100 per cent fit and healthy," he told a news conference in Melbourne.
"The moment when top guys are hurt, you guys know about it. So, it's not like we can cover it up so easily, you know.
"There's maybe many other players that are injured right now, but we don't talk about it because they're playing on Court 25. I think that also makes a bit of a difference.
"But, I mean, the ATP is looking into it. From what I heard, there was actually less injuries throughout. Okay, then what is an injury? How bad is an injury? It's all interpretation, I guess.
"You know, I always said it like the moment I guess you reach 30, it's normal to maybe have some signs of usage of the body, whatever you want to call it.
"But the players and their trainers and the tour and everybody should try their very best to try to make sure they can avoid injuries.
"Is that by playing less? Is that by training different? Is that by playing a different schedule? Whose responsibility is it at the end of the day?
"I think it's the players. Sometimes you do get unlucky. Like a soccer team, sometimes you have seasons where more guys are hurt than others.
"I think we're professional, we know how to warm up, we know what to do. Later on things become a bit more tricky. But I think that goes with the business."