PARIS, May 23 – With 13 Grand Slam titles, 58 tournament victories and widely regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, Roger Federer could be forgiven if he was seduced by the hype and headlines.But as he sets out on his 11th attempt to finally win a French Open and complete a career Grand Slam, the 27-year-old Swiss superstar admits that he never stops questioning himself.
The doubts, he says, are there when he is enjoying his many highs and his shattering lows.
"I always question myself. I questioned myself in the best of times when I was winning four, five titles in a row. What can I improve? What can I change to get better," said Federer here on Friday.
"I think it’s important to do that when you are on top of your game but also when things are not going so well.
"There are certain times during the year where you just have to sit down and analyze, are you happy with what’s going on. Could you do more? Should you do less? Sometimes more is less. I always try to find the best ways to get better as a player."
Federer had to wait until Madrid last weekend to capture his first title of 2009.
Having lost his Wimbledon title last year to Rafael Nadal and then left in tears as he slumped to defeat again at the hands of the Spaniard in the Australian Open final, many were questioning Federer’s future in the game.
Marriage and impending fatherhood were also seen as two more factors likely to reduce his desire and dedication.
But he has taken great heart from his Madrid Masters final win over Nadal, a victory which snapped the Spaniard’s 33-match winning run on clay.
For a man who has lost the last three French Open finals to the Spaniard, that win in Spain could not have come at a better time especially with Nadal chasing an unprecedented fifth successive Roland Garros title.
That’s something even the great Bjorn Borg failed to achieve.
"I lost in five sets in Australia and I lost Wimbledon. But if you analyse things a bit closer, I was close to winning three tournaments out of four," said the Swiss.
"I had problems with my mononucleosis and my back. But I couldn’t win the tournaments I wanted to win because of Rafa and because my game was not there 100 percent.
"It was there at 98 percent but that wsasn’t enough. So I lost my confidence a little bit, but I always had faith in my game. I knew I was on the right track."