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Very little impact going through Roger Federer's body because he glides so gracefully around the court: Matt Little

Roger Federer measuring up a forehand
Roger Federer measuring up a forehand
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Modified 27 Oct 2020, 00:18 IST
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Roger Federer’s consistency and longevity are two of his most envied attributes on the tour. But what exactly gives the Swiss maestro such remarkable levels in these aspects? Andy Murray’s strength and conditioning coach Matt Little recently attempted to elaborate on the subject.

Little has been working with the Brit for over 12 years, and is well-informed about the training aspects of several top players, including Roger Federer. While speaking on a podcast with ATPTennisRadio, Little pin-pointed Federer’s world-class movement as one of the key reasons for his long injury-free career.

The Brit believes that Federer’s efficiency in moving around the court ensures that his bones and muscles suffer considerably less stress than normal.

“Obviously Roger is also an incredibly smooth mover, let's call it,” Little said. “He’s very efficient in the way he moves you know, it looks like there is very little impact going through his body because he glides so gracefully around the court. I’m sure he would say, 'No, No No, there’s quite a bit of impact going through my body. My back and my knees will tell you' (laughs).”

Roger Federer would be at the lower end of the scale more often in terms of high heart rates: Matt Little

Roger Federer gliding across the court
Roger Federer gliding across the court

Matt Little was also asked about the sort of training that Roger Federer carried out under the guidance of Pierre Paganini. The Brit revealed that he had watched the Swiss Maestro in action in the past, and briefly explained the exercises he had witnessed.

“I watched with interest some of the training sessions they (Federer and Paganini) put up, I think when Roger was in Dubai a while ago,” Little said. “And it (the training) seemed to be on the court and some physical stuff either side of the court. I’ve heard that a few times (as well) which makes perfect sense.”
Roger Federer
Roger Federer
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Murray’s coach also praised the decisions taken by Roger Federer and his team with respect to scheduling and practice sessions. The eight-time Wimbledon champion is known to put a lot of thought into choosing his tournaments, basing his decisions solely on his physical capability.

Matt Little thinks that correct scheduling and timely recovery sessions aid a player’s ‘success and longevity, much like they have for Roger Federer.

“I also think there’s been some good decision making in terms of scheduling, in terms of practice,” Little added. “When to go hard and when to go back and recover. All of those decisions have a huge impact on a player’s health and long term success and longevity.”
Roger Federer
Roger Federer
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Matt Little then went on to the topic of heart-rates, trying to estimate which player recovers quicker between points. He surmised that Roger Federer could be amongst the players to have lower heart-rates, unlike Andy Murray or Rafael Nadal.

“I would think Roger would be at the lower end of the scale more often in terms of high heart rates and in terms of high impact forces,” Little observed. “It’s just the way he plays. Versus your let's say the Andy’s and Rafa’s who to me from an observational side of things seem to put more kind of vertical force and power."
Published 26 Oct 2020, 23:36 IST
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