"Roger Federer is still playing at highest level, how he is able to manage his motivation after so many years is more than amazing" - Toshihide Matsui

Roger Federer celebrates at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships
Roger Federer celebrates at the 2021 Wimbledon Championships

Veteran Japanese player Toshihide Matsui feels Roger Federer's ability to remain at the highest level and maintain his motivation at the age of 40 is "more than amazing." The 43-year-old also recalled his experience practicing with the great Swiss at the 2006 Japan Open.

Federer reached the quarterfinals of the 2021 Wimbledon Championships in July, making him the oldest man to reach that stage of the competition in the Open Era. The eight-time Wimbledon champion turned 40 just over a month later on 8 August.

The 20-time Grand Slam winner has not played since losing to Hubert Hurkacz in that Wimbledon last-eight clash. He underwent a third procedure on his right knee in August after aggravating the injury during the grass court season.

In an interview with Ubitennis, Matsui reflected on hitting with Federer at the 2006 Japan Open - which the then World No. 1 went on to win.

"The last time I had a unique opportunity to hit with Federer happened in 2006 when he came to play at the Japan Open," Matsui said. "If I am not mistaken it was the first time that Roger participated in this event. I remember that the speed of the court was so fast and the ball did not bounce so high normally. But interestingly, during our rallies every ball and shot hit by Roger bounced even so high that I was so surprised how he did it."
"After our session we took a photo in which we both looked very young," Matsui continued. "Anytime we met after this, he always had kind words for me. Wherever I travelled on the Tour, if I had the opportunity to see him training I always checked it out."

The Japanese professional then expressed his admiration for the 40-year-old's longevity, while revealing he hopes to practice with him again.

"He is still playing at the highest level and how Roger is able to manage his mental motivation and psychical strength after so many years behind him - it is more than amazing," Matsui added. "Surely, one of my wishes is to hit with him again. It’s gonna be fun, especially now as we are both over 40."

Matsui is also a remarkable example of longevity as he is currently the oldest player to hold a singles ranking - World No. 1086 - at the age of 43. He has been ranked as high as 261st in singles and 130th in doubles.

Roger Federer confirms participation for Laver Cup 2022

Roger Federer with the Laver Cup trophy at the 2021 Laver Cup
Roger Federer with the Laver Cup trophy at the 2021 Laver Cup

Roger Federer has confirmed his participation - along with Rafael Nadal - for the 2022 Laver Cup, which is due to take place from 23-25 September in London. The Swiss did not play the 2021 edition of the event in Boston last year, due to having undergone knee surgery in August.

Team Europe has won all four editions played to date, with the 20-time Major winner competing from 2017-2019. He is currently ranked 30th in the world, having played just five events since the 2020 Australian Open.

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