'We are not machines' - Federer says players' mental health not helped by tour demands

‘We are not machines’ – Federer says players’ mental health not helped by tour demands

Roger Federer believes the intense tennis tour schedule can have a negative impact on players’ mental health.

Federer, now retired, won 20 Grand Slam titles between 2003 and 2018 before retiring from the sport in September this year, and he is well aware of the challenges players face.

A number of big stars have spoken out about their mental health, including Naomi Osaka and Nick Kyrgios, and Federer feels tennis’ busy schedule is not helping players.

“When players retire at a very young age, I completely understand that,” Federer told a news conference in Tokyo. “The tour is tough… travel, training, jet lag.

“Nobody has the right to say, ‘Oh, I’m tired today’, because it looks like you’re weak, and that’s why players sometimes end up having mental problems.

“You are supposed to show strength. But we are not machines either, we are also only human beings.”

Federer played on the tour for 25 years before calling it a day, and he’s making the most of finally being able to relax, saying, “As a tennis player, you’re always thinking about your next practice, your next match. He never let you go

“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.”

He pointed to doping tests and the fact that players constantly have to keep authorities away from their whereabouts.

“We have to fill in the doping forms every day, one hour during the day, wherever you are,” Federer said. “You are always aware in the back of your head, they could come at any time, especially at this time.

“Once it’s all gone, you feel lighter, relieved that you can live normally again after 25 years.”

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