Roger Federer is partying like it is 2008 all over again.
The Maestro is cruising through the US Open. Now in the Semifinals with another straight sets win. This time over No 12 seed Richard Gasquet, 6-3, 6-3, 6-1.
So how does a 34 year play like he’s 10 years younger?
“I don’t know,” he said. “I mean, since a few years now or many years I have tried to look at the big picture to hopefully still be playing at a high level at this age. So in some ways I am not surprised I am playing as well as I am.
“I think I have worked on my game moving forward, have been able to take the ball earlier, and, you know, I think I’m volleying better than I have the last 10 years. I think I was volleying well coming up on the tour when I was younger because I was spending more time at net.
“I think that gave me confidence to keep working on that, moving forward. Now because my serving is working quite well, you put those two things together, and standing in on the return as well, I think has changed the dynamics a little bit. It’s all about keeping yourself in shape and staying injury-free. And motivated, I guess.”
Motivated and maybe even a fortunate draw. The No. 2 seed had it easy so far with some upsets in his bracket that allowed him to make it look easy.
Part of it is conditioning. He may be in better shape now than he was back when he was winning all those titles.
“I’m more professional these days; whereas when I was coming up on tour I would bounce up and down for two minutes and then just walk out to the practice and do almost the same for the match,” he said. “These days I take more time, put in more of the core exercises, do more stretching. Sometimes I just can’t wait to get off the table again honestly. It’s nice not to be on there all the time.
“Yeah, for me, also sleeping has become quite important. I make sure I sleep enough, as well. Like when I went to bed after the Isner match it got quite late and I couldn’t sleep quite as much as I wanted to. Because I believe it’s really the sleep that gives you energy again down the road. That’s why the next two days are very important for me in terms of sleeping.”
Those days have ended though, because he has his buddy Stan Wawrinka next also known as the man who beat him at Roland Garros this year.
“I think a lot comes through practice for Stan, because he’s worked very hard throughout his career,” Federer said “It took him a while to figure out exactly what his possibilities were. I don’t think he was a guy who always, you know, had enough confidence.
“I always thought he was a better player than he actually was, but somehow something was holding him back maybe. I think only once when he really started to break through and he had some big wins — I recall a big win for him when he beat Hewitt in the fifth deciding match in Davis Cup in Sydney. Beat him on the grass two sets to one down. Came back and won it. Played unbelievable tennis at the end.
“Then I think in practice he started working to hit the ball harder consistently, and today he can consistently bring the power on forehand, backhand, and serve almost anybody when he gets hot.
“I’m happy he found that level of play. Two slams, got Davis Cup, Olympic gold. Has a complete career. Won a Masters 1000. Has everything he ever wanted. He has had a wonderful career.
“Looking forward to playing him, because he definitely is a big test and a big challenge for me. He beat me in straight at the French, so I hope I can do better this time.”
We shall see. Federer is two steps away and right now he looks like he did back in 2008.