A frisky Roger Federer may have divined the key to tennis survival in your 30s: a carefully calibrated schedule.
Break has recharged Roger Federer
A rested Roger Federer says he feels good. Now we see just how much that means when the author of that comment is on the "wrong" side of age 30.
Federer defeated Kei Nishikori to win the Swiss Indoors Basel at the weekend, his second championship of the year but first since Doha, way back in January.
Also, what could have been a particularly meaningful title was tempered by the last-hour withdrawal of Andy Murray and a shock loss by Novak Djokovic, players Federer could have met in the semi-final and final, respectively.
The tour moves on to its penultimate event of the season, the BNP Paribas Open, and it still is not clear if Djokovic, who complained of shoulder pain after losing to Nishikori in the semi-finals, and Murray (aching back) will play.
Rafael Nadal already has confirmed he is out of the Paris event.
Federer might wish his elite competitors were on the scene this week. He took six weeks off before winning his home tournament, and said: "It has been a long time since I felt so good, physically. I'm at a different point in my career to the younger guys, I have to focus on what's better for my body, my mind, my family and I think it was the right decision."
These final two events, as well as the Mubadala World Tennis Championship in Abu Dhabi on the final three days of the year, could position him for a 2012 renaissance. A frisky Federer may have divined the key to tennis survival in your 30s: a carefully calibrated schedule.