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"I don't think Roger Federer wants to put his body on the line just for one record" - Marion Bartoli

Roger Federer
Roger Federer
Modified 24 Mar 2021

Former Wimbledon champion Marion Bartoli and journalist Ben Rothenberg recently spoke at length about Roger Federer and his comeback. According to Bartoli, even though Federer wouldn't want to lose all of his records, he is unlikely to try and protect them if that comes at the cost of his health.

Ben Rothenberg, meanwhile, believes Roger Federer has accepted that his records will sooner or later get surpassed by his rivals.

While Rafael Nadal equaled Roger Federer’s all-time Grand Slam record at the French Open last year, Novak Djokovic went past the Swiss' mark of 310 weeks as World No. 1 earlier this month. Given how both Nadal and Djokovic have more years left on tour than Federer, they are widely expected to break most of the Swiss' major records.

Roger Federer’s undying passion for the sport has led many to believe that the Swiss will try and add to his Grand Slam tally even though he will be 40 in a few months. But Marion Bartoli claimed Federer has 'achieved enough', and that he will not put his body under undue duress to chase the Grand Slam record.

"He already got beaten in the No. 1 weeks by Djokovic and I don't think he wants to lose all his records," Bartoli said. "But I don't think he wants to put his body on the line just for one record. He has achieved enough."
Roger Federer after beating Dan Evans in Doha
Roger Federer after beating Dan Evans in Doha

Ben Rothenberg on his part claimed that Roger Federer has likely enjoyed being at the top of the pile for a decade, and that the Swiss has come to terms with the fact that his records will eventually not belong to him.

"I think Roger's pretty smart," Rothenberg said. "He's held this record for most Grand Slams since 2009, so that's a nice 12 years and counting. I think he's enjoyed this time, he recognises it can come to an end and it's beyond his control. I also think he knows that Djokovic is going to outlast him and maybe get to 22, 23, or whatever."

Marion Bartoli and Ben Rothenberg disagree over Roger Federer’s decision to skip the Miami Open

Marion Bartoli believes Roger Federer will be served well by his decision to play on clay.
Marion Bartoli believes Roger Federer will be served well by his decision to play on clay.

After losing in the quarterfinals at the Qatar Open, Roger Federer was expected by many to take part in at least one other hardcourt event before the clay swing. But the 39-year-old withdrew from the Dubai Open as well as the ongoing Miami Masters, leaving his fans perplexed.

Ben Rothenberg was also surprised by Federer's decision, as he believes the Swiss would have benefited from the Miami event's Slam-like scheduling. The American, however, voiced his concerns about Federer using the clay season as a preparation for the grass swing.

"I was surprised he pulled out of Miami," Rothenberg said. "I thought it would have made sense, with a day off between matches, it's the closest thing to a Slam. I don't think he necessarily wants to be peaking on the clay; it's gruelling, it's his least favourite surface, it has the least to do with grass in terms of playing style."

But Marion Bartoli disagreed, claiming that Roger Federer has always made the right scheduling decisions. The Frenchwoman sounded confident that the Swiss’s decision to play the clay season would reap dividends, as the demanding nature of the surface can help bring Federer back to shape.

"Roger almost never took a bad decision in his career," Bartoli said. "Living here in Dubai, I know, it's really hot, so if he's able to practise outside for a month, he's going to get really fit. Clay is not about the matches, it's about the fitness to play long matches. I think for him, clay will be the perfect way for him to get those muscles back working. The time he spends there will help him in match situations."
Published 24 Mar 2021, 21:01 IST
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