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Federer draws inspiration from Tiger's prowess

The fact that both superstars are in the prime of their careers has fans asking, "Who dominates his sport more"? Read on...

india Updated: Sep 07, 2006 12:03 IST

Roger Federer towers over tennis like Tiger Woods dominates golf, and despite the differences in their sports Federer believes the forces that drive their success are much the same.

The fact that both superstars are in the prime of their careers has fans asking "Who dominates his sport more?"

"To be compared to Tiger is really nice," said Federer following his fourth round victory at the US Open on Wednesday.

"We have something in common. I can relate to what he is going through with the success I've had over the years."

The hallmark of a champion is consistency over a long period of time and Federer has eight Grand Slam singles titles to Woods' 12 golf majors.

"I think it is the mental strength over the years," Federer said. "Combine that with the talent and the ability to come up with good shots at the right time.

"It is obviously different -- a golf shot to a tennis shot. But I still think you see the similarities once in a while."

Woods won his fifth PGA event in a row on Sunday and like Federer has two major titles this year. They are in the prime of their careers and closing in on historical targets at the same time.

Woods at 30 years old is six majors behind Jack Nicklaus's record of 18 and Federer at 25 needs a half dozen more Grand Slams to catch Pete Sampras's record of 14.

"So to see him winning five in a row is great. Him winning the majors is great too," Federer said.

"That's what is so impressive. You always feel like somebody can do well for one year or two, but to back it up year after year and always be consistently at the highest stage.

"I think that's where it's impressive and not only for yourself but for the fans or media and other athletes that are in your sport."

Federer shares the same management company as Woods (IMG) but they have never met. Federer hopes to arrange a face-to-face meeting.

"I hope we're going to meet soon. In the future some time," Federer said.

Tennis legend Ivan Lendl said the greatest athletes simply feed off their own success.

"Top players in any sport who have a kind of staying power are guys who draw energy from success and use it to improve," eight time Grand Slam winner Lendl told The New York Times. "I believe that's the difference between a champion and a No 1 who comes and goes."

When he was younger Federer used to marvel at other dominant athletes and ask why they do it. Now that he is on the biggest roll of his career, he finds himself pushing his own body and mind through the haze of athletic achievement.

"I love seeing those athletes and I wonder how they keep it up," he told the Times. "And now I'm in the same position and I'm thinking, 'why are you asking me this question about why do I want to keep it up?

"This is what I love doing. You want to prove to yourself that you can do it over and over again.

"You can never get enough of it until you hit the wall and you are done."

Federer won his first Grand Slam, the 2003 Wimbledon title at age 21, not exactly a late bloomer but Federer feels he got a late start on winning majors.

"I love this sport and I do have some regrets," he said. "In my junior years, I thought I didn't practise well enough.

"I could have done so many things better. And even though I learned quickly I was a bit lazy.

"I look back now and I've always had the feeling I could have had success earlier."

First Published: Sep 07, 2006 12:03 IST