Nov 19 (Reuters) – The busy schedule on the ATP and WTA Tours can have a negative impact 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 during a career that spanned almost a quarter of a century.
With Federer a month away from his 40th birthday when he played his last competitive singles match, the Swiss admitted that chasing titles and ranking points one week after another can take a toll on the players.
“You are supposed to show strength. But we are not machines, we are human beings,” Federer told a news conference in Tokyo.
“When players retire at a very young age, I totally understand that. You see that from time to time. I always feel like it’s such a shame, because so many more could happen. things in the future.
“The tour is tough… the travel, the training, the jet lag. Nobody has the right to say, ‘I’m tired today’, because it looks like you’re weak, and that’s why players sometimes end up with mental issues.”
A number of tennis professionals have spoken out about their mental health struggles, 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 the 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 are always aware in the back of your head that they could arrive at any time, especially at this hour.
“I don’t think I was very aware of it, how that thought is still there, and it stays with you until you retire and realize the stress is going away.”
Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk, editing by Pritha Sarkar
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