It should be that the longer a player stays in professional tennis, the better they get and the easier it is to win over most players. This may be until one's mid to late 30s creeps in then there may be more tougher times ahead to excel.
Everyone feels the heat especially Roger Federer. "Grigor was able to put me away and I fought with what I had and that's it...He gave me all sorts of problems with the rhythm..." Federer had said after his loss to Bulgaria's Grigor Dimitrov at last year's 2019 U.S.
Open quarterfinal. The predictable matches at times turn out to be unpredictable. When the draw pits Federer against a top 50 or 60th player, on paper the odds may be for the Swiss to win, but yet sometimes that doesn't happen.
He realizes that sometimes he is the top man but anything can happen. "I haven't played proper matches in many, many weeks...95% of the guys are coming here with matches. I'm not one of those guys," he's often said of entering tournaments a bit ill prepared.
The Swiss continuously feels the pressure, a different kind than when he was 10 years younger. The opening matches of every tournament has for Federer another barrier. He had to admit: "..the first 3 rounds are the key to get going.
Get used to the pressure. Stay calm when to save break point the 30-all points...this is the unknown that can be scary at times..." he admitted with apprehension. The Australian Open's quarterfinal was a scary time for Federer as he dived into playing the 100th ranked Tennys Sandgren upon their first meeting.
"You've got to get lucky sometimes, I tell you that", Federer says laughngly over his 5-set match win with the American. Luck may have played a hand in Federer's win, but should it always be the factor in winning? It can't be.
The opening set the Swiss had won and it gave him a boost of confidence that he could do this. But the journey for victory of the match was too long and unsure. Sandgren had won the 9 of 11 games and it was creating doubt in Federer's head as to could he possibly win over his competitor who was super strong and definitely had better strategies at some points more than himself.
But there are stituations where a player feels they've gotten over the upheaval and will win. Federer often says about his fortune admitting that "I think I got incredibly lucky today...As the match went on I started to feel better again and all the pressure went away."
The competition is great where players are at odds with the NextGen, the comeback players, the qualifiers and the top 5. There may be a time when luck just won't be there and it will take grit and physical stamina as well as mental toughness to win match after match.
The idea of having long breaks in between tournaments won't work and having many matches of experience will cause exhaustion. It is necessary to find the mid level that works but more and more it may be difficult and Roger Federer knows that's the mystery and the magic of winning consistently.