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Rigorous demands of the tour are not conducive to mental health – Federer

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The hectic schedule of the ATP and WTA tournaments can take a toll on players’ mental health, tennis great Roger Federer said on Saturday.

The 20-time Grand Slam champion retired from the sport in September after traveling the world several times in a career that spanned nearly a quarter of a century.

Although Federer was less than a month shy of his 40th birthday when he played his last competitive singles match, the Swiss admitted that chasing titles and ranking points every week can take its toll on players.

“You have to show strength. But we are not machines, we are people,” Federer said at a press conference in Tokyo.

“When players retire at a very young age, I completely understand that. We see it time and time again. I always feel it’s a shame because there’s so much more that could happen in the future.

“The tour is tough…the travel, the practice, the jet lag. Nobody is allowed to say, ‘I’m tired today,’ because it looks like you’re weak, and that’s why players sometimes have mental problems.”

A number of tennis pros have spoken out about mental health issues, including Naomi Osaka and Nick Kyrgios, while Ash Barty shocked the tennis world earlier this year when she retired from the sport less than two months after winning the Australian Open aged just 25 .

Federer added that the strict doping regime also puts pressure on players, who must inform the relevant authorities of their whereabouts on a daily basis.

“We have to fill in the doping forms every day, one hour during the day, wherever you are,” said the 41-year-old Swiss.

“You always have a feeling in the back of your head that they could come at any moment, especially at that hour.

“I don’t think I realized it, how much that thought is always there and it sticks with you until you retire and then you realize all the stress goes away.”

Reuters

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