(Reuters) – The world’s best all-around skier Mikaela Shiffrin says tennis great Roger Federer helped her learn to enjoy her remarkable success by advising her to take time to savor every victory.
FILE PHOTO: Alpine Skiing – Alpine Skiing World Cup – Women’s Slalom – Flachau, Austria – January 8, 2019 Mikaela Shiffrin of the U.S. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo
The American has been in superb form this season, winning 11 World Cup races to bring her career total to 54 as she marches towards an all-but-inevitable third straight overall World Cup title.
At just 23 years old she is on track to smash virtually every Alpine skiing record and said she is enjoying the sport now more than ever.
“I was able to meet Roger Federer, who is one of my idols,” she told reporters on Thursday about her September meeting with the Swiss 20-times grand slam champion.
“We talked a little bit about what he would have done in his career if he had to do it over and he said that in his heyday, when he was his busiest, he would have tried to take a little bit more time to celebrate the victories.”
That could mean simply taking time out to have a relaxed dinner with her team after a win before they get to work breaking down every detail of the race and planning for the next one.
“I really took that to heart and this entire season my whole team has just been trying to keep everything a little more light hearted,” she said.
“I still have the full level of focus that I’ve always had but I’m just trying to remember that at the end of the day it’s ski racing — we’re not at war.”
Shiffrin has amassed an impressive 1,494 World Cup points this season, well ahead of Slovak Petra Vlhova in second on 898 points and Swiss Wendy Holdener in third on 637.
In a development that should strike fear into the hearts of the competition, the slalom specialist is getting better at the speed events, having won all three of her super-G races this season.
She said she plans to compete in the super-G, slalom and giant slalom events at the FIS Alpine World Ski Championships in Are, Sweden, when they kick off on Feb. 5 but said she is also considering adding Alpine combined to her workload.
“We’re trying to figure out the best balance,” she said.
Reporting by Rory Carroll; Editing by Toby Davis