Roger Federer recently spoke with Vogue, ahead of his 2019 Wimbledon campaign, where the tennis GOAT answered 66 rapid fire questions.
1) So, how you feeling about the tournament?
“Feeling great. So happy that it’s Wimbledon time again, I love this place.”
2) Can you walk me through how you start your days right now?
“Um, it’s pretty relaxed actually, it’s all about recovering and coming into the, the tournament you know with loads of energy. That’s my plan.”
3) Can you show me what makes a perfect serve?
“Ok. A perfect serve is, I think it’s all in the toss really. It’s the only we shot we actually do control, everything else we have to react to the opponent. So, here we go, up, jump, and hope it lands in.”
4) Can you demonstrate an extremely technical thing I probably won’t understand?
“hmm, maybe, overhead on the backhand side, it hardly ever happens and when it does you lunge back, jump up, can’t see the opponent anymore, you try to connect and hope for the best.”
5) What do you consider your signature shot?
“My slice, maybe my forehand.”
6) Why don’t you have a two-handed backhand?
“Because, all of my heroes had one-handers, so I had no choice.”
7) Do you get attached to your racket?
“I do, um, I love my racket, and it’s an extension of my arm, and it does all the magic for me, so, yeah.”
8) What’s your favourite about playing at Wimbledon?
“Um, it’s history, and tradition.”
9) How would you describe playing at centre court?
“It’s…I think it’s a dream come true for every tennis player to play there.”
10) Does your family have any nicknames for you?
“ah, yeah. They call me Roge, and in Swiss German, they call me Rogee”
11) What’s the most Swiss thing about you?
“Um, that I’m a chocoholic, if that’s something?”
12) What languages do you speak?
“I speak Swiss German, German, English, and French”
13) Do you have any favourite expressions in these languages?
“I like allez, in French, c’mon in English, and chum jetze in Swiss German, on the tennis court.”
The tennis star takes a break to say hello to some ball boys and ball girls for a brief minute, and obliges an offer for some strawberries with cream.
14) I heard you started your career as a ball boy. Is that right?”
“Yes I was like them, I was about 12 years old, in my hometown in Basel. I did it for two years, it was great, I loved it.”
15) How many hours a day at aged 12 were you playing?
“Um, two hours every second day I would say.”
16) Versus how many hours today?
“Between zero and four. I got to save my energy sometimes.”
17) Who was your tennis idol growing up?
“Um, Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg, and Pete Sampras.”
18) When did you first realise you were really really good at tennis?
“Well, in the juniors I thought I was good, and then when I beat Pete Sampras here in 2001, I felt like I knew I was good. So wrong to say that. Oh my god.”
19) Is it true your mum is a tennis coach?
“Yeah, a little bit. She didn’t really coach me though.”
20) What’s the best piece of advice she gave you?
“Never let the ball bounce twice. Makes sense. So simple. Right? Just run at that ball, all the time. It’s like a dog.”
21) And what advice would you give these guys here? (ball kids)
“Um, love your tennis, but then work hard and then what else can I tell you guys? You know dream big, sometimes we don’t always dream big enough, that it’s possible, because we think that there is barriers and stuff. You got to go for it and do it full on.”
22) Grass or Clay?
“Grass, of course.”
23) Forehead or backhand?
24) Spin or flat?
25) What TV show are you obsessed with at the moment?
“None really, I used to love Prison Break, that was so cool.”
26) Who’s your style icon?
27) What are you wearing when you’re feeling your best?
“Um, I mean a suit’s good, but, ah, bathing suit, and a T-shirt, on a beach somewhere.”
28) What is the most memorable thing you have ever worn?
“Um, Met Gala, I wore a tuxedo from Gucci, with a diamond encrusted sort of cobra on the back. That was pretty sick.”
29) What do you do on your off days?
“Um, nothing, I just take it easy with the kids.
30) What’s the best fashion advice you have ever received?
“Um, you wear the clothes, not the clothes wear you. And Anna, once told me um, when I ask her if I should wear the light suit or the dark suit one evening, she said, dark suit of course Roger. I said, of course.”
31) What is something about you that you think a lot of people wouldn’t know?
“I don’t know, I feel like I’ve done so many interviews, I feel like people know everything by now.”
32) You have identical twins, tell me the truth, do you ever get them confused?
“I used to sometimes if I couldn’t see their face sometimes, but no, nowadays I’m a pro, of course I can tell them apart.”
33) What lessons have you learned from your kids?
“Patience, and snuggling again, it’s been the best.”
34) And what do you hope your kids learn from you?
“Everything. I want to teach them everything I know and more. I love them so much.”
35) Out of all of the crazy places to play in the world, what is the craziest location?
“Um, I played on the Jungfraujoch, top of Europe, in Switzerland on a mountain with Lindsey Vonn. And, I guess, centre court, Wimbledon, of course.”
As they enter the clubhouse, the trophy cabinet comes into view, the reporter asks Roger to stand next to them and says you have eight of them?
36) Where do you keep all of them?
“I have a big trophy cabinet at home, but, we always have space for one more. I tell you that.”
37) What Wimbledon tradition do you look forward to the most?
“Um, I think it’s wonderful to have the defending champion open up centre court at one o’clock on Monday.”
38) Do you remember the first professional tennis tournament you played?
“Of course, Gstaad in 1998 after I won the juniors here actually, at Wimbledon the week before.”
39) What’s the most surprising moment in your career?
“Surprising moment….I truly believe, becoming world number one, and winning all of the titles that I did is crazier than any dream I ever had about my career, I never thought I was going to be this successful.”
40) What’s your most prized memorabilia?
“The net of my 2009 Wimbledon final against my good friend Andy Roddick.”
41) What you consider tennis your favourite sport to watch?
“Yes, and football and basketball, I love basketball. It’s cool.”
42) And growing up you also played soccer right?
43) What made you choose tennis over soccer?
“Um, I didn’t want to blame the goalie, in all honesty. I wanted to blame myself. Maybe that is what made me maybe pick tennis, thankfully I did.”
44) What’s the biggest challenge as an athlete that you didn’t appreciate when you started?
“Ah, I was incredibly homesick in the beginning. Um, jetlag, and all of the interviews, couldn’t trust journalists in the beginning. And, then little by little, I actually started enjoying interviews, that’s why I’m talking to you right now.”
45) How do you want to be remembered?
“As a good guy for tennis, um, philanthropic, and a good tennis player maybe, I don’t know.”
46) I’ve been told you enjoy ice-cream before a match is that right?
“What? Pre-match ice cream? I have loads afterward but not before.”
Roger approaches the board of previous champions and sees his name listed there 8 times. The reporter asks Roger to point to his most memorable. He points to 2003.
“It was my first one. That guy thought, that was it. I achieved my dream. Winning Wimbledon. It was epic.”
48) And I hear they engrave these pretty quick, when you win?
“Yes, so apparently, even the trophy. So, you hold it up in the air, and it’s already got your trophy engraved, and you walk out of this court that you win just back here, and look to the board, and bang, winner 2019 and then the name.”
49) Can you actually tell me something really quick about Mr. Rafael Nadal?
“What would you like to know. He is an intense guy on the court. He is super honest and open off the court. And, he’s ah, good a heart of gold. He’s also going to help me with my foundation again next year. We are going to try to break the record for most attendants, um, in Cape Town, in South Africa, for my foundation. I’m so looking forward to it, so, thank you Rafa.”
50) And, I sense centre court is right behind these doors right?
“It is, wanna have a look?”
51) Roger, do you have any pre-game rituals or superstitions?
“I am not superstitious um, at all, actually, funny enough.”
52) What kind of music would you probably be listening to before a match?
“I don’t usually, but maybe something relaxing, funny enough.”
The interview has now moved onto centre court.
53) What do you say to yourself before walking out on this grass?
“C’mon Roger. You Got this. Go for it, enjoy it. Let’s go!”
54) What’s your favourite memory of playing here?
“Um, winning my first Wimbledon, or, maybe um, beating Pete Sampras here in 2001.”
55) Ok Roger, you are here, it’s match point. What is that experience like?
“You hear a pin drop, um, when you are about to serve. Nobody is talking, it’s amazing. You hear a cough maybe. And, then it just ah, the crowd erupts when ah, when you win the point.”
56) Who is the first person you look out for in the crowd?
“I want to feel the vibe. See how into the crowd is, how much they’re into it. And then um, I check ah, my team, if there all seated already maybe. And ah, the umpire and the opponent you know.”
57) Who’s the player you dread playing the most?
“Ah, Rafa Nadal.”
58) Who is your favourite player to play against?
59) Who do you want a rematch with?
“Ah, maybe, Del Potro, US Open final in 2009.:
60) You have a strategy called fire and ice. What does this mean?
“So, I think you gotta have fire in the belly, wanting to win every point, you give it your absolute best and ah, ice in the veins for me is basically, you are so focused in the most important moments, you are so calm and so composed, that’s what it is.”
61) Prepping for a first round match versus prepping for a final match, what changes?
“Well there should be none, but ah, you know, sometimes you get a bit nervous, you do.”
62) So how nervous do you get before matches?
“I think it’s the amount of butterflies you feel in the belly, that makes a difference.”
63) Mental exhaustion or physical, what’s harder to overcome?
“I’d say mental, just its hard to sometimes to be picked up. It’s not always easy to stay positive.”
64) Serve and volley or power base line
“Mmm, bit of both.”
65) Foot work or strokes, which is harder to nail?
“Ah, foot work is easier to perfect, I feel like strokes are maybe more talent in both.”
66) How to survive in Bear Grylls compared to surviving in Wimbledon?
“Ah, a bit different. Bear Grylls show I did ah, freeze and I pee’d over the fire. I didn’t do that here, you know, at Wimbledon. And, Bear Grylls was actually sitting over there in the Royal box, ah, with the Royals, attending the finals and my team was sitting over there with my lovely wife, um, a wonderful moment.”