Tennis great Roger Federer has expressed concern about the ATP and WTA circuit schedules as it tends to have a negative impact on the mental health of players. The 20-time grand slam champion recently announced his retirement from the sport in September after playing on the circuit for almost 25 years.
Federer was talking in a press conference in Tokyo where he stated that players aren’t machines. He then listed factors like continuous travel, jetlag and training. He also stated that despite the gruelling schedule, players aren’t allowed to complain as it makes them look weak.
He said, “You’re supposed to show strength. But we’re not machines, we’re human beings. When players retire at a super young age, I totally understand it. We see it from time to time. I always feel it’s such a pity because there could still be so much going on in the future. The tour is tough… the travel, the practice, the jetlag. Nobody is allowed to say, ‘I’m tired today,’ because it looks like you’re weak, and that’s why players sometimes end up with mental problems."
Countless star tennis players have opened up about their mental health struggles, including Naomi Osaka and Nick Kyrgios. Whereas Australian tennis star Ash Barty announced her shock retirement earlier this year two months after winning the Australian Open aged just 25.
Federer also talked about the strict doping regime which also pressurizes the players, who have to inform the authorities about their everyday on a daily basis. “We have to fill out the doping forms every single day, one hour during the day, where you are," the 41-year-old said.
“You’re always aware in the back of your head they could be coming any moment, especially in that hour. I don’t think I was that much aware of it, how much that thought is always there, and it rides with you until you retire and then you realise that stress all drops away."