Maybe I'm taking away things from me a little bit but I truly believe things are a bit easier to play more consistent today
Roger Federer says slower courts and remaining injury free have been key to his consistency at Grand Slams over the past nine years
Federer seems to re-write tennis history every time he steps onto the court these days. The world No.2 saw off Milos Raonic, another young player tagged with big expectations, to reach his 35th consecutive Grand Slam quarter-final in Melbourne. His streak, which began at the 2004 Wimbledon Championships and has also included 30 semi-final appearances, has now stretched eight Grand Slams clear of the previous record of 27 held by Jimmy Connors.
“Obviously times have changed,” said Federer, who is aiming to become the first player in the Open Era to win five Australian Open titles. “Conditions have slowed down. That gives you an opportunity to maybe be more consistent in all four majors, which before we had the clay court specialists, the fast court players. Maybe I'm taking away things from me a little bit, from myself. But I truly believe things are a bit easier to play more consistent today.
“But then, of course, you have to stay injury‑free,” Federer added. “Whatever happens in a five‑setter, if things don't go well physically for you, you'll pay the price and then you'll drop out of the tournament. So many times, even if I did have problems, I did find a way to come through and survive and go deep in the tournament, often even win it.”
The ageless 17-time Grand Slam champion won 93 per cent of points off his first serve against Raonic and is the only player left in the draw who hasn’t had his serve broken during the tournament.
“Yeah, especially early on in the season, not having played any tournaments before, this is obviously a great thing I have going. But I go into matches expecting to be broken. The more you talk about it, the more you're going to be broken. So I'm just happy to drop that subject and sort of move on,” he joked.
Next up for Federer is his 2011 Wimbledon conqueror Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The pair have met on 11 different occasions with Federer emerging victorious in eight of them.