Chris Evert: 'Roger Federer's body is a gift'

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Chris Evert: 'Roger Federer's body is a gift'

As every year, prior to a Grand Slam Chris Evert hosted an ESPN Press conference call, with Patrick McEnroe. Evert commented about Novak Djokovic, who has changed his service motion after his elbow injury.

'Wherever you have had a certain serve or a certain swing for so long, to tweak it even a little bit, you don’t want to do that your first tournament back, a Grand Slam tournament,' Evert said. 'You want to have a lot of matches, a lot of smaller tournaments, to see if it’s going to really improve your serve, if it’s going to really help the elbow. I mean, he’s a big question mark. Obviously he’s a big question mark. He needs to play. He’s playing a couple exhibitions, but then you get to a place where you have to play seven matches in a row in the course of two weeks. That’s a whole different story. That’s really testing the elbow to the highest level. I think we can only speculate at this time what’s going to happen with him. You know he’s in great season. Off-season, he was one of the hardest workers ever. You know physically he’s got to be in great shape. The question mark, again, is how the elbow is going to hold up.'

About the favourites to win Australian Open women's title, Evert said: 'I say this without a lot of conviction, but I feel like Simona Halep had such a disappointing 2017 in the majors, and I feel she is determined to turn that around. I mean, she had a heartbreaking 2017 in all the majors. I just feel like she’s playing the best tennis right now, playing the most solid tennis. I think she has good training. In the fall, with every interview I see, every time I see her on TV or Twitter, she has a big smile on her face. I think she’s personally in a good frame of mind. She’s liking being [the] no. 1. She’s enjoying that. She’s embracing it. She’s not fearful of it. I say that, again, without 100% conviction, but I’m going to have to pick her as my favorite. As far as the young players, wow. I’m looking down the rankings here. Svitolina, she’s sneaking in there. Ostapenko, definitely she was not a flash in the pan. She’s one to stay. Let me see here.'

Evert also spoke about Nick Kyrgios: 'I think Kyrgios is going to be dangerous. He’s going to be dangerous. He has the mind I think now. He’s not intimidated with the top players. You got to give him a shot out.'

About Roger Federer: 'I think this is a guy who is so relaxed. This is a guy who, because he’s so relaxed, I think that affects him mentally as well as physically. The way he plays in a relaxed way, there’s no strain. He doesn’t muscle anything. He kind of glides around. He’s so efficient. Just the way he plays, his style, I think it just doesn’t result in a lot of injuries. I think mentally and emotionally, having kids, having a family, he gets away from the game, he knows how to compartmentalize really well. He lets the losses roll off his back, there’s no tension there. I think he has a real joy for the game. That’s what makes Federer, Federer.'

Lastly, commenting on Federer outlasting Nadal on the circuit in terms of time, Evert said, 'Absolutely. I think his game style, just the way his body is. Just the way he plays, again, as I said before, it’s so much timing. There’s no muscling, no stress, no strain in his game. He moves naturally. He’s got the fast twitch muscles, so he glides across the court. Yeah, I mean, his body is a gift. His body has really helped him with his longevity and his style. I think that’s translated into a certain style of play. He’s played shorter points than most players.'

Quotes recognized by Tennis Panorama

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