Roger Federer will be lethal once tennis resumes, says Todd Martin
- Roger Federer has a "simple and instinctive" game, according to multiple Slam finalist Todd Martin.
- Martin believes the Swiss is showing no signs of weariness, which suggests he could play for many more years.
Tennis, like every other sport, has been put on hold amid COVID-19 concerns, with major tournaments like Roland Garros and Wimbledon postponed. The biggest question that has come up now is which member of the 'Big 3' of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will be able to find their form immediately after the break.
Martin believes that Roger Federer, who is probably the most effortless player at the elite level, will find his feet faster than others.
“I would look at Federer and think that he would like to play the US Open on day one after quarantine because his game is so simple and instinctive and traditional,” Martin told Tennis 365.
“I would imagine he would be able to wake up and hit the tennis ball better than anyone right away. He is a natural."
Martin on the 'magic' of Roger Federer
The American recalled an incident from over a decade ago, when he was working as the head coach of compatriot Mardy Fish. Martin had set up a practice between Fish and Federer, and was left to stare in amazement as the Swiss looked better than most despite being out of rhythm.
“When I was coaching Mardy Fish in the mid-2000s right after I stopped playing, we went over to London and set up practice with Roger," said Martin. 'I was out on the practice court and Roger couldn’t have been lazier. No footwork, just slapping the ball around.
“There was one sequence in the warm-up, just five minutes in, and he hit three backhand slices in a row and he hit them three different ways. Probably, none of them were technically right, but his hand and his upper body balance were so good that he made each of those balls do exactly the same thing.
“People used to talk about Henri Leconte’s hand and how magical it was, that he could do so much when he was not in the right position. Well, Roger is always in the right position and he makes Henri Leconte’s hand look like a beginner’s.”
Roger Federer, 38, is considerably older than his 'GOAT' contenders, Nadal (33) and Djokovic (32). However, Martin believes that the Swiss is showing no sign of weariness and can go on for "several more years".
“Nothing I’ve seen indicates that physically he is incapable of keeping going. Nothing I’ve seen has indicated his love for the sport has waned, so I wouldn’t be surprised if we see several more years out of him," he said.
Martin also explained that a period like this will be difficult for all players to deal with, since they're not used to spending an extended period of time away from the tour. Aside from the trio of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, it would be interesting to see how the other players perform after the resumption.
“This is going to be a challenging phase for players to cope with. None of them, except for injury, have had this type of time like this just to chill out. Health will be high, but there are no repetitions for any of them.
“Caging that animal will have consequences, but they don’t get to hit any tennis balls and most people will have different ideas on how to train now.
“How quickly they can come out of this and get back into playing shape and restructure or prepare their game will be really interesting.”