Roger Federer Says He’s Playing Better Now Than He Was 10 Years Ago, Is He Right Or Delusional?
by Tom Gainey | December 13th, 2013, 10:15 am

Ahead of his first career appearance at the Brisbane International later this month, Roger Federer met with Australian press earlier this week to discuss the upcoming season and the state of his game.

Linda Pearce of the Age reports the 32-year-old Federer asserting that he’s playing better tennis now than when he first won the Australian Open in 2004!

“I always believe that I have improved over the last 10 years, you know, that I’ve not gone backwards, and I’ve been able to win (the Open) 10 years ago, so I always feel as I move forward I am a more complete player, a better player,” Federer said.

“That’s why I will always believe that I can win, as long as my body is holding up and mentally I’m really hungry travelling the world and playing matches, and that is the case right now – I’m very healthy and training extremely hard.

“Some success has come back also at the end of last year, which is quite important for me, for my confidence, because I was really in a difficult spot from Wimbledon all the way til Basel, I’d say, with just fighting my confidence and then, particularly, also my back issue. I couldn’t really train the way I wanted to for some time, and now it’s really picked up again and I think I’m really moving in the right direction.”

Federer finished the 2004 season ranked No. 1 after seven titles (3 Slams) and a 74-6 record.

Now ranked No. 6 after going 45-17 on the year, Federer hopes to carry his late season momentum into better, bigger results in 2014. “It’s just important for me that I play better against the top guys. It’s not been bad this year, but I just didn’t land enough wins, so that’s something I want to improve for this year.”

In Brisbane, Federer will be joined by Lleyton Hewitt, Marin Cilic, Grigor Dimitrov, Sam Querrey, Kevin Anderson and Gilles Simon when the tournament begins on December 29.

Federer will then play a special one-night exo against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga at Rod Laver Arena on January 8.

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82 Comments for Roger Federer Says He’s Playing Better Now Than He Was 10 Years Ago, Is He Right Or Delusional?

Giles Says:

Delusional much!

Rogerisclass Says:

Sportsmanship Award (voted by ATP players)

Roger Federer: Fellow players voted the Swiss as the winner of the Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the ninth time and third year in a row. He also won the award six straight years from 2004-09. Juan Martin del Potro, David Ferrer and Rafael Nadal were also nominated in this category.

Humanitarian of the Year (awarded by ATP)

Roger Federer: The 32 year old becomes just the third person to be named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for a second time, joining Andre Agassi and Aisam-ul-Haq Qureshi. Fans’ Favourite (Singles) (voted by fans)

Roger Federer: The Swiss has been voted Fans’ Favourite for a record 11th straight year.

Roger is greatest player ever. His record is not only the inside of a court.

Rogerisclass Says:

Roger has decline clearly.

Roger also understands it.

[Roger Federer also agreed with Novak Djokovic’s assessment that he’s no longer as quick on his feet as he once was.

“What he says is true and “Federer said. “I don’t feel that I am as fast as in my best years. But despite that I can still compete with the best.That makes me feel positive.”]

But Believing is important. good luck Roger.

I always love you :)

Thangs Says:

so he agrees that he won most of the slams in weak era:-)

Sirius Says:

If he’s trying to give himself some self belief and confidence by saying this, then maybe it’s ok.

Otherwise, he’s being delusional imo. And this comes from a fed fan

SG1 Says:

Thangs Says:
so he agrees that he won most of the slams in weak era:-)


I could kind of see this one coming. But, Fed is kind of painting himself into this corner by making this kind of statement. “I’m better now than I was 10 years ago but I can’t win a tournament.” The only logical conclusion from a statement like this is that the competition of 10 years ago wasn’t as good as it is now. Good going Roger. To quote the late Al Davis, “Just win baby. Just Win”. If Roger wins this year, all will be forgotten. This incessant projected optimism just doesn’t come off as believable right now.

majurej Says:

He clearly is in denial. I hope he won’t have to eat his words once the season starts. I just want him to perform well on court.

Queen Says:

It is like begging for mercy. Please do not write me off, please. I can do it. I promise I will try harder…pretty pitiful.

Okiegal Says:

If Roger could just win one tournament, I think his confidence level would pick up some. I truly think the back issue has hindered him more than anything. He still looks great at times during his matches. If the match goes to 3 sets, he seems to give up…’s like I can’t win this 3rd set. Don’t know if it’s his legs or confidence. So hopefully, he can win Brisbane and build up his confidence a little. I think we would see a different Roger. Wishing him luck for 2014!!

Ben Pronin Says:

“The only logical conclusion from a statement like this is that the competition of 10 years ago wasn’t as good as it is now.”

Isn’t this simply the evolution of sport?

Purcell Says:

Reading from a variety of sources, I gather that Rog is an optimistic sort so I don’t know whether denial is applicable. We’ll see next year. Oh and pitiful……yes that can apply to most sportsmen at some point in their career. That’s life.

Patson Says:


I thought you subscribed to the idea that this particular era is nothing out-of-the-ordinary. Federer’s statement and his results suggest the contrary.

Purcell Says:

I agree with you Ben. Is it too impertinent of me to say that evolution suggests change rather than necessarily improvement?

The Great Davy Says:

The result of having super talent and some bad result?

More bad result, bad mental game. Sometimes in 3rd set just feel like 300 year-old and give up. The GOAT Fed and Your Great Davy have this in common.

Ben Pronin Says:

Everything’s relative. But Federer saying he’s better now doesn’t mean the previous era was weaker.

It’s not black and white. Overall, tennis players should be better today than they were 10 years ago, 20 years ago, 30, etc. But the quality of the era is how many players of equal or near equal skill level there are. That’s what everyone debates.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Its still great that after a lack lustre year he still remains so positive,i agree with Okiegal in that one tournament win will see his confidence build,all the best for the year ahead Roger whatever happens.

billyboy512 Says:


Dave Says:

Just because he believes his skillset has improved (still unlikely) doesn’t take into account the obvious decline in speed, which is the greatest problem in older tennis players.

metan Says:

Hahaha, Roger is dreaming!

Perfect fan Says:

Its supposed to be a fed-fans dominated topic of discussion. But not the case here as I see majority of die-hard rafa fans blasting fed here.

The point is clear….the guys luv for rafa is much much lesser than the hate for fed. Simply obsessed with fed (even if in bad light).

I think demeaning fed and hurting fed fans is more orgasmic to them than the achievements of rafa itself.

Seems TX is getting flooded with more n more overly jealous fans than tennis fans.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Perfect Fan its not enough that Rafa has done so well this year,people also have to dump on Roger too,some people in this world are never completely happy unless everybody else in the world is completely miserable.

Rogerisclass Says:

Davydenko is better then Nadal.

Roddick id better than Djokovic.

Perfect fan Says:

Yeah Alison….that’s the point exactly. Rafa is playing grt currently and has at least 2-3 decent years of playing at his peak and so most probably going to surpass fed’s record. My personal opinion is they both may b tied at 17….yeah dats bcoz logically I too believe that fed may not add to his tally unless he show’s some character n aggressiveness in 2014. Nevertheless, being a fedfan….I ‘ll always back him to win more titles esp slams so long he is playing.

But the point is some of d guys r so obsessed dat they r nt getting mere satisfied jus with thr fav’s success….they wan more….something lik the rival fan group shud fell to thr knees n admit thr mistakes n leave this forum 4evr.

Rogerisclass Says:

Surface is slow and a ball also increases weight by now. The performance of a racket also improves.

It is a time which exists for Nadal now completely. He wins by grass or a hard court in the same style as clay.

However, Nadal and Toni Nadal make an always selfish arrogant complain.

Nadal. ” Djokovic is lucky. Give me two years without an injury and”

Nadal: “Rosol not comparable to Soderling”

Toni : “it’s ATP’s fault if Rafael never won WTF”

Toni : ” I hope now Federer and Djokovic will get injured.”

Nadal: Playing the WTF every year on indoor is not fair.”

self-serving, wish ranking for two years. And always dissatisfaction to a schedule. And many performance fees are always got and many EX are performed?

madmax Says:

Crazy that people ALWAYS misinterpret what Roger says. Let’s break it down:

Roger Federer Says He’s Playing Better Now Than He Was 10 Years Ago, Is He Right Or Delusional?
by Tom Gainey | December 13th, 2013

Linda Pearce of the Age reports the 32-year-old Federer asserting that he’s playing better tennis now than when he first won the Australian Open in 2004!

Ummm not quite what he said Linda:

“I always believe that I have improved over the last 10 years, you know, that I’ve not gone backwards, (this is true overall, of course it is! 17 slams and most weeks at number 1, fact. Can’t be argued)….and I’ve been able to win (the Open) 10 years ago, so I always feel as I move forward I am a more complete player, a better player,” Federer said.

Yes, Roger…you ARE a better player than you were when you started on tour. Who can argue that? This year has been his worst year, let’s compare that too to Rafa’s shall we Giles? In 2010, it was 10 months before he won a tournament, God, what if the rafa fans deserted rafa in his hour of need then? And now, he is no. 1 and on a roll.

Of course Federer is a better player than he was in 2004! And there is a difference between being “delusional” as Giles puts it and “having confidence”.

Without confidence in sport, why bother playing, why bother believing?

Federer is aware of his year this year. Not as good as the rest, BUT he showed the tennis world that he is not over yet with some great results at the end of the year.

Roger did NOT say he is playing better IN 2013…in pockets, yes, for sure, in others, not so.

We all know this.

Overall, YES. Roger is playing better overall. Read carefully please everyone. Don’t be ready to jump down Roger’s throat so quickly!

Giles Says:

@madmax. You have addressed e twice in your rant. Am I the only poster who commented “delusional”? Read the comments from others and you will find I am not alone in my opinion.
Have a nice day.

madmax Says:

Giles, yours was the FIRST post commenting on Fed,saying “delusional”, for someone who hates him so much, you sure troll his threads, stick to Rafa who brings you more joy. Secondly, it wasn’t a rant (unlike yours above), it was a fact, that ranters like you never seem to understand.

Break down the comment properly Giles and perhaps one day, we can have a sensible conversation. Until then…


Yes, simply the evolution of sport.

madmax Says:

Giles, I will open up the lines of discussion in a proper way.

Don’t you think that he is actually playing better than he was 10 years ago? (don’t base it just on this year – by definition, since 2004, he has won 16 slams), so yeah, I guess he is playing better than 10 years ago!

Giles Says:

@madmax. You’ve got me completely wrong. I do not and I repeat do not hate fed. It’s some of his fans I am not too keen on. I admire fed for all his achievements and I really hope for his sake and the sanity of his fans that he comes good this year. In the meantime all my support is of course with Rafa and I do hope he comes close to what he has achieved this year.

Giles Says:

^^ Should have said “that he comes good next year”

Giles Says:

@ madmax. TBH I don’t know whether fed is playing better tennis now than he was 10 years simply because I was hardly following tennis at that time. I started getting interested when Rafa came on the scene so I am not the best person to answer that question. From what I have seen over the last few years is that fed has a beautiful game but now the problem for him might be that some of the younger players have caught up especially Rafa and joker and fed is finding it very difficult to get through them. It could be the fact that as he is getting older he is getting slower and his stamina is questionable plus the fact that he is lacking confidence especially after the bad run he has had this year. If he wins a few tourneys am sure the confidence will come flooding back. Just my take.
I would love for him to start beating joker again. That would really be a feat.

Giles Says:

^ *10 years ago*

Simon says Says:

Like most of his fans, he’s definitely delusional.

van orten Says:

fed in his prime years faster and his drive more letal . his serve clicked anytime. but over the years the rallies were getting longer and his skills were tested and overall he has become a better player. the best years to compare the eras of fed is 2007-2012. he won 8slams in that period and a lot of quality players except for a few exceptional ones didnt . so who cares about eras. nadal will try next to get into striking zone to win more than 17 . it doesnt even matter because its all about some very good results over a long perioud of time and fed was very good in that till 2012 . nadal has his fortress filled with 8 rg and has to deliver jas to have two monster yeard to do so. dont know if he has the luck to do so. there are some players who lost tough matches vs him in 2013 . they will be thirsty to take him down in 2014. it doesnt matter what era. tennis is timeless already

Roger That Says:

As Ben is pointing out, even though Roger is better player winning Wimbledon last year than he was ten years ago, it is not that simple.

Ben is right that evolution has made today’s field than it was back then with Nadal, Murray and the Joker.

So this is of course explaining why even though Roger continued to improve, he does not win as much as he used to.

Only the best players in tennis like Roger is can do this! Why can’t the Vamos heads understand this!

As always, great points Ben.

Giles Says:

^^^ Just stop with the name calling and stick to the topic being discussed. It’s fans like you that instigate the animosity on this forum.
Vamos Rafa!!

skeezer Says:

“It’s fans like you that instigate the animosity on this forum.”
WTF? Look in the mirror!

Shhhhh……vamoshead at work.

Okiegal Says:

The byline on this thread asked the question…”Is he right or delusional?” In fairness to all the posters who said delusional….they were within their rights to answer the question how they felt.

As I posted earlier, if Rog could win Another tourney I think his confidence level would go up a notch. I think he has still got it in him to do so. There are times in his matches of late where he still plays some amazing tennis. Maybe if he isn’t able to do it in straights, his legs just can’t hold up, I don’t know. I am a Rafa fan for sure, but I hope Roger gets it back, I for one……not ready to give up on him……Love to watch him play. The age factor is not on his side, that’s for sure. Good luck to Roger for 2014!!

skeezer Says:

Roger is always the optimist, never a debbie downer. What’s wrong with that?
That said, until his foot speed gets back to when he was 27 or so, it ain’t gonna happen. I am sure he feels his game has gotten better. Probably has in all phases…..except footwork.
Look, Feds movement is where all his magic happens. If he gets that back, along with his confidence in himself, he may have some really great stuff left in the tank. I am hopeful for him, but also a realist. He is not in the “in their prime” age group.

Tennis X Hippy Chic Says:

Perfect Fan 2.57am i dont know if Rafa has 2 or 3 good years of tennis left in him?i mean i hope so i really do,however like youself and its not just about the winning i will be just happy to see him carry on playing win or lose,and TBH i never think about him surpassing Roger as another 5 is a rather tall order IMO,and traditionally the age of 28 is when he could fall of his peak as some have done in the past,and hes getting to the point in his career where hes facing the law of averages,i do see him equaling and maybe surpassing Sampras but not Roger i believe he will finish between the two,but it sure will be exciting seeing him try,that much is for sure.

Giles Says:

skeezer. You are the biggest, ugliest culprit. Yes, I can see you.

James Says:

I think Roger is right in saying he’s improved his game. He’s probably a better, more complete player than he was in his dominant days.
Unfortunately for him, he has declined physically. He now sometimes looks slow and old on court.

If he had a 25 year old body again, I’m sure he’d be very difficult to stop again.

madmax Says:

Giles, the last couple of posts which you wrote, addressed to me, were the best you have ever written. Stay on that track please. It’s much more fun.

Brando Says:

Game wise: He’s better and more complete.

Tactically: He’s also more astute.

A professional and especially one as committed and successful at their trade like RF will only improve in their skill set over the passage of time.

The reason why his results are poorer than years gone by is simple:

Diminishing Physical ability.

The guy is 32- physically you are in a decline @ this age than in comparison to what you were in the age 24-28 bracket.

Fed’s foot speed and general movement is not the same as what it used to be.

And this what the top players like Novak use to their advantage when they face in virtually match now:

They make him run left to right consistently, engage him in long punishing rallies fully well knowing physically they shall be the winner of such contests.

And without any doubt about such tactics.


The physical ability of a age 25, 27 > 30 plus player in Tennis.

It’s the same old yarn for decades.

Had Fed been 26 like Novak or 27 like Rafa then for me the Tennis landscape would be like this:

Clay- Rafa
Grass- Fed
HC- Fed

Skill wise at his best he’ll whup them all on Grass, Indoor and HC.

Check the records book if in doubt.

With Fed it’s pretty simple:

Barring Rafa (age old matchup issue that’s evident to all) he’d be whupping the rest on a frequent basis.

His game, skill set, style is superior than the rest.

And he does not have a matchup issue with any player not named Nadal.

It’s just physically he’s nowhere near their level due to father time.

Hence: his poor results in comparison to former years and the success of players who in the past used to lose to him on a frequent basis.

Time is now playing to their advantage against Fed, and sadly for him, to his disadvantage.

Thangs Says:

/*HC- Fed*/

Its not 100% …Outdoor hardcourts would still be 50-50 between Rafa and Fed except Cincinatti.

Patson Says:

I actually think that if we put prime-Fed with prime-Rafa and prime-Nole, Rafa would be the one who’ll benefit the most. The reason is that in the last 3 years or so, we’ve seen Rafa meeting Nole alot in the finals. One fourth of those meetings would probably be replaced by Rafa vs Fed and we all know Rafa fancies playing Fed more than Nole.

In that imaginary universe, Fed would be unbeatable indoors, so he’ll keep winning the YEC. Rafa will be invincible on clay. Nole would still be the boss in Australia. We’ll see mixed results in Wimbledon and US Open.

It’s imaginary, so it doesn’t matter anyway.

Steve 27 Says:

The problem for him is that Safin, ferrero, Roddick and Hewitt are retired or almost retired.

Steve 27 Says:

He can win a calendar grand slam… in mixed doubles.

John Says:

Fans like to fall back on the slower surfaces excuse, but even in quicker conditions Roger isn’t getting it done. Part of that has to do with his ailing back. But he’s also mentally lost his edge. He’s making mistakes that even two years he wasn’t committing so frequently. And yes, the competition is stiffer. That’s not saying Roger’s heyday era was weaker, but it was definitely weaker than now. No matter what he can’t avoid the top guys.

I do like that he’s showing optimism, and I expect 2014 to be a better year for Roger, even if I don’t expect it to be that much better.

Giles Says:

@madmax. Thanks. I will try. ;-)

Polo Says:

Poor Roger needs a shrink.

Kimberly Says:

maybe he is techinically playing better because the game has changed but he is slower.

hawkeye Says:

Already said it but my post was deleted.

Try, try again.

When his back is not a hindrance, Fed is better now than he ever was. He proved it in 2012 returning to No. 1 (against a much tougher field (albeit largely without Rafa) and winning Wimbledon and showed flashes of peak abilities in 2013 but most of the year he was obviously injured.

madmax Says:

Brando, a good post yet again. Very fair.

Ben Pronin Says:

“He proved it in 2012 returning to No. 1 (against a much tougher field (albeit largely without Rafa)”


madmax Says:


Was just about to correct hawkeye, when you did it for me!

Good on you!

hawkeye, please be fair – for once.

skeezer Says:

Fed and his training team have been working out this past week with Edberg. Saaweet!

hawkeye Says:

Rafa didn’t play after Wimbledon 2012 missing the last five months of the season absent in Montreal, Cincy, USO, China, Paris and WTF.

That IMO (not yours perhaps) qualifies as “a much tougher field (albiet largely without Rafa).”

Or is it the “tougher field” you didn’t like. That is a matter of subjective opinion. There is no right or wrong on that so chill.

You are entitled to your own opinion on this.

I was fair and very complimentary towards Fed.

hawkeye Says:

And yes his foot speed has slowed (he has already admitted this) but he has more than made up for it in other aspects of his game.

If the cards fall right, fedfan can still win majors.

Giles Says:

^^^ So?

hawkeye Says:

Giles, they’re both reminiscing about their glory days.

skeezer Says:

^pseudoFed posts are not Tennis news. What I posted was.

Giles Says:

^^^ You didn’t have to read the link but you obviously chose to do so!!

skeezer Says:

^I read your post not the link. Why would I do that?

skeezer Says:

I think it is significant Tennis news that he has had Edberg involved in his training. Will be interesting to see if it has any effect on his game in 2014.

Ben Pronin Says:

Maybe he was working on his wolleys.

skeezer Says:

Nobody had it better than Edberg on the transition game to the net. After he served he was already almost standing at the net.
Don’t think his style of game will transcend into todays game though. We’ll see….

wolleys? Lol

Kimberly Says:

Dolphins beat patriots yesterday I was at the game it was intense! Had a splitting headache after from all of the tension!

skeezer Says:

^and the Patriots thought with Brady they would win in the end….not! Loved it.. Although Brady is one cool Quarterback.
Dolphins have Bills and Jets left, should get in (fingers crossed).

Ben Pronin Says:

I guess you guys aren’t as flabbergasted as I am with seeing the Dolphins in the playoff picture.

Kimberly Says:

Ben, everyone here is totally flabbergasted

The patriots totally though they had it. The game was packed with pats fans and they were so smug, dancing eve. When they were down because they thought the would pull it out like they did against Cleveland and Denver

Brady said a total of 50 words on his pressed and dropped the a bomb on love tv in those two lines. He was so mad! It was great!

Kimberly Says:

Sorry that is “the s bomb” on live tv

Kimberly Says:

They have to play buffalo in buffalo though and it’s so cold. Of course I always root for cold winters up north as it is good for my business as a south Florida real estate agent but maybe Sunday can be a mild one?

Ben Pronin Says:

I’m not surprised the Dolphins beat the Pats. Despite the last minute wins, the Patriots aura has taken a big hit throughout this season. I’m just surprised to see the Dolphins sitting at 8-6. Outside of the controversy, they’ve been putting together a solid season very quietly.

hawkeye Says:

Pats wouldn’t have lost with Gronkowski in the line up.

Not rocket science.

Kimberly Says:

@ben-most of the dolphins game seem to be own or lost in the 4th quarter, won and lost a lot of close games! The panthers and ravens game were brutal

hawkeye Says:

… or if their D wasn’t so banged up.

Ben Pronin Says:

“Not sure you can blame their loss to the Dolphins on Rob Gronkowski’s absence. The Patriots gained 453 yards without him, converting nine of 17 third-down attempts in the process. The secondary has to play a lot better — those guys made Ryan Tannehill look like Tom Brady on Sunday. He’s more of a Tony Eason type.”

Looks like tennis knowledge isn’t the only thing you’re lacking, hawkeye.

hawkeye Says:

In the six complete games Gronkowski played, Pats converted 19/28 opportunities in the red zone into touchdowns. They were 1 for 4 against Miami.

A good TE “stretches” the shorter field in play required to defend giving the QB more options.

Nice try though Ben.

Go Pats!



skeezer Says:

Also, Amendola had a monster game, so the Gronk excuse only goes so far. Pats are now looking like the Dallas defense of the AFC. Keystone cops in the secondary.
Dallas? Now theres a trash talk game if there ever was one.

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