May not seem like an earth-shattering admission by the recently retired Federer, but it’s actually enormous in the growing attempt to normalize the MH convo.
Federer’s still arguably the biggest name, in a sport that’s international.
So what’s the big deal? Of course the tour is “grueling.”
I remember doing an event in 2018 w @realtracylmurray at Boise St, w their whole athletic dept from student athletes to ADs. Tracy, the NBA Champ, said something very impt: “In my day, & still very much today, playing at that level of competition, you can’t say things like: my grandma passed & it’s really upsetting. You can’t even say it to your own teammates in many cases. You’re all competing for the same spots, & in practice, when you reveal things like that – it’s used against you. Guys talk smack – ‘what you can’t deal w the loss of your grandma…must be tough that loss.’”
We’re coming from an era where something as common as a loss of a loved one couldn’t be spoken abt. Bc it was perceived as a weakness. “That person isn’t strong enuf to deal w that ‘thing’ even tho we know everyone else is going thru it, they must be the weak one.”
But what we’ve learned abt MH is holding it in & pretending it’s all OK, actually hurts performance, bc MH’s cumulative. Maybe your career is cut short bc of it. Maybe you aren’t as athletic for as long. Maybe you make unforced errors…there are so many impacts that holding things in CAN/DO have.
Naomi Osaka & Nick Kyrgios have been open abt their struggles in the tennis world. Ash Barty retired at just 25, 2 months after winning the Australian Open.
So why’s Federer’s reveal so big? Bc everyone knows the Tour is gruelling on MH, but till now you couldn’t admit it, & it led toward things like Ash’s retirement. Led towards Andrew Luck’s early retirement.
The ATP Tour yes is grueling on MH- but so to is the schedule of a college athlete…working late nights as an accountant…being a teacher in worrying abt your students. Maybe it’s obvious -but it’s not been spoken abt this openly & directly before: the gruelling grind of anything impacts MH. It’s not just “genetics”…we can talk abt our “stuff.”