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Swiss tennis superstar Roger Federer said that it took him longer than his other contemporaries to develop his physical and mental strength but it paid dividends for the current world number six.

Federer won his first career Grand Slam title at Wimbledon back in 2003 when he was 21 years of age.

“I was like a rough cut diamond,” Federer said in an interview with The Sunday Mail. “That’s how a lot of people saw me. I needed polishing. I came in at a time when Lleyton (Hewitt) was unbelievably successful at a young age. So was (Andy) Roddick, so was (Marat) Safin, so was (Juan Carlos) Ferrero. They were just a bit ahead of me. I don’t want to say I was frustrated, but I didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening for me. I was far enough behind that I was, `OK, let’s push myself a little more.’

“Day in day out, my mentality improved, always being professional. I understood more and more how important fitness was. I didn’t know why I was lifting weights, when it was going to help me later in a tennis match. The physical strength and the mental strength were the last things to fall into place. The mental part of my game, that was the hardest part for me… the consistency I have been able to have for long, I am quite surprised I have managed to do it for so long,” he added.

Federer, a 17-time Grand Slam champion, only won one title in 2013 which saw his ranking sink to as low as number seven.

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