Asked how hard it is to step on to the court knowing that everyone expects him to win every time, Federer says the opposite of what you’d think:
“The pressure disappears with experience. I always put a lot of pressure on myself to make the breakthrough. Everybody was telling me how good I was and how I should be ranked higher. When I became No. 1, the pressure left me because I felt that I finally did everything I wanted. I won Wimbledon, the Australian Open. So, basically, my career could have been over, and everything that’s coming after that is a bonus for me.”
He concedes, though, that he’s more interested than ever in making tennis history.
“But I don’t get crazy about it, like Tiger Woods,” he says of his golfer friend. “For him, all that counts is beating Jack Nicklaus’ record of 18 majors. I realized this when I met him. I am much more relaxed.”
Lesson: If staying at the top of your game has you on edge, take a page from Roger Federer. You’ve hit the sweet spot already. Savor it.
—Adapted from “Roger Federer Faces History,” James Martin, Tennis.