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'Roger Federer is one of the most gifted athletes I've ever seen,' says former coach

Wimbledon Roger Federer backhand

A former coach of Roger Federer has described him as an icon and said that its his perspective on life and tennis that makes him so special.

Federer, at 39 years old, is currently training for a return to tennis after double knee surgery and has announced he will play in Geneva ahead of the French Open next month.

The Swiss ace was forced to take an extended 13 month break due to an injury that many thought would see the end of his illustrious career.

However, Federer has proved his doubters wrong by targeting not only a return to the sport, but is also hoping to have a successful return to Wimbledon and possibly the Olympics too.

Former coach Paul Annacone says its Federer's unique outlook on life which is making his long tennis career possible.

"His (Federer's) greatest strength as a player and a person is his perspective,” said Paul Annacone on the Double Bagel Tennis Podcast.

“[That] along with the fact that he just loves tennis, that’s why at 39 he’s still out there and right now trying to get healthy to play again later this year, because he loves what he’s doing.

“Roger’s an icon. He goes everywhere and it’s tough to go anywhere, because he doesn’t get much peace and quiet and it doesn’t drain him.

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“He genuinely loves life, understands the perspective and priorities in his life, and is one of the most gifted athletes I’ve ever seen.

“He thrives on being all over the world with his family and seeing how different people live and how different societies act and interact, and playing on different tennis courts.

“So, when you put all those things together, it gives you a recipe for longevity, and that’s what we’ve seen.”

Annacone, who was also a former coach to Pete Sampras, says this perspective is one of the big differences between Federer and Sampras throughout their career.

“He (Federer) doesn’t have the emotional drain at 39 that Pete [Sampras] had at 29 or 30. And, that doesn’t make one person better or worse, it’s just their different personalities.”

“Pete was fatigued from that life, whereas Roger thrives on this life,” Annacone added.

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