Roger Federer is now taking tips from his six-year-olds in his quest to break his grand slam title drought.
Federer enters his Australian Open quarter-final against Tomas Berdych on Tuesday unlikely to need too much help to take care of the sixth-seeded Czech for a 16th time.
It’s more before a looming semi-final with Novak Djokovic that the third seed will be searching for answers after falling to his Serbian nemesis in three grand slam finals in the past 18 months.
Cameras captured the Swiss master’s twin daughters buried in books during their father’s second-round win over Alexander Dolgopolov and now Federer is only too happy to turn to the studious pair for advice.
Their message is simple, young Myla and Charlene Riva urging their dead-eyed dad to shoot for the lines.
“The one thing in tennis they tell me is I should play on the lines. They think that’s a good thing,” Federer said.
“I was like: `Okay, I’ll try that.’
“The other one said `maybe you should look that way and play the other way’.
“I said: `Okay, I’ll try that, too. It’s not as easy as you think it is, but I’ll try.’
“That was actually quite funny. When they came to practice the other day, they asked me to do the trick.
“I was like: `Which one?’ The one where you look the one way and play the other way. So they have given me advice, if you like. They’re good coaches, yeah.”
Having lost his last clash with Berdych, in the 2012 US Open quarter-finals, Federer doesn’t need his kids to remind him to beware of the big-hitting Czech.
Despite his winning record over the world No.6, Federer is treating Berdych with respect as the underdog bids for a place in the final four in Melbourne for the third straight year.
“I have to play well. I think the court suits him,” Federer said.
“I think this sort of flatter bounce and faster court is good for his serves, good for his returns. It’s a fast court. For his kind of game, it’s good.
“I matched up well against him as of late. Then again, we haven’t played that much.
“He played very well here last year in exactly these conditions. I was very impressed how he played against Nick (Kyrgios).
“I didn’t see that much against Bautista Agut. (But) beating a different kind of player, beating him in five sets, gives him, I’m sure, a lot of confidence as well, even though maybe the scoreline doesn’t suggest that.
“I would assume he’s exactly where he wants to be and he’ll recover and make it a tough match for me, no doubt about it.”
ROGER FEDERER (SUI) leads 6-TOMAS BERDYCH (CZE)
Career prize money: $US97,341,456 ($A142.10 million)
Career titles: 88
Grand slam titles: 17 (Australian Open 2004, 2006-07, 2010; French Open 2009; Wimbledon 2003-07, 2009, 2012; US Open 2004-2008)
Career win-loss record: 1066-239
Australian Open win-loss record: 79-12
Best Australian Open results: champion 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010
Plays: right-handed (two-handed backhand)
Career prize money: $US23,861,931 ($A34.07 million)
Career titles: 12
Grand slam titles: 0
Career win-loss record: 549-284
Australian Open win-loss record: 38-12
Best Australian Open results: semi-finalist 2014, 2015