MELBOURNE: Is 36 the new 26? Looking at Roger Federer‘s run over the last 12 months – two major wins, and one match away from a possible 20th Grand Slam title, giant Croat Marin Cilic standing between him and a sixth Australian Open crown – it would appear so.
Age is an old word, seasoned just about sums it up.
For the second successive year at Melbourne Park, the combined age of the finalists is 65, with the Swiss, the father of four, the common factor. It was world No.1 Rafael Nadal last year and it’s the 29-year-old Cilic this time.
Before the start of the championship Federer said, “I don’t think a 36-year-old should be the favorite of a tournament, it should not be the case.”
Apologies, but it is the case. At a time when 40 is the new 30, where eating right and exercising the new age mantra, and fitter translates to younger, it’s only fitting that 30-somethings are gaining a fresh lease of life in playing arenas. Insport as in society.
There’s nothing like numbers to drive home a point. There are 21 men – aged 30 and over – in the world’s top-50 and three in the top-10. Incidentally, Cilic was the only player aged less than 30 to make a major final last year. The Croat played Federer at Wimbledon but couldn’t get going because of a blistered foot.
Federer, who leads the head-to-head 8-1, having won both meetings last year, said 10 years ago in his career was a totally different life. It was before the kids came along.
“I see things a bit different now, I’m wiser, maybe more laid back,” Federer said, adding that his latest charge might have something to do with a changed mindset. “I never thought I was going to play a bit of a lesser schedule, which actually is quite enjoyable. I always thought I’m just going to keep playing from January to November every single year, 20-something tournaments. But I was able to adapt to it. Maybe that’s also one of the reasons I’m still out there.”
Big-serving Indian Rohan Bopanna, who is in Sunday’s mixed doubles final, hit with Federer on Saturday on the eve of the singles final. The 37-yearold Indian, 6 ft 3, has played Federer once, more than 10-years ago in the first round of Halle, and has hit with the superstar Swiss a few times. Source : timesofindia