Roger Federer, the tennis legend who was close to being a footballer
In many interviews, the tennis legend Roger Federer confessed that he would have liked to be a footballer.
On September 15, tennis legend Roger Federer announced his professional retirement. Despite being a tennis player, this athlete is admired by players of all disciplines, including basketball, rugby, volleyball and, of course, football. In fact, many footballers took advantage of this moment to dedicate a few words to this sports legend.
One of these people was Lionel Messi, who expressed his admiration for him: "A genius, unique in the history of tennis and an example for any athlete. I wish you the best in your new stage, we will miss seeing you on the court making us enjoy". Another footballer who expressed in the past his admiration for the Swiss was Diego Armando Maradona. "The machine", as Maradona called him. "Nadal is fantastic, Djokovic is fantastic, but like 'The Machine' there is not and there will not be.
Although Federer is a tennis legend and lover, in many interviews, he confessed to being a faithful football fan, not only of the Swiss National Team but also of his favorite team, FC Basel. On several occasions, he even explained that during his youth he set out to be a footballer, instead of a tennis player. For several years, he played in the youth teams of FC Concordia Basel (a team that competes in the fifth division of Switzerland).
He not only liked to score points with his racket, but he also liked to score goals. In fact, he liked to play center forward. "When I was 12 years old my tennis schedule was so full that I just couldn't compete in other sports. I like to think I could have been a footballer. I was an attacking midfielder or center forward. I was a good leader, so I would have been a good captain," he told FourFourTwo magazine a couple of years ago. Besides, tennis is an individual sport, whereas football is a team sport. "In tennis, I felt that everything was under my control. In football, I could blame the goalkeeper or anyone else. In tennis, I didn't have this problem. I was the only one to blame. My first idol was Karl Odermatt, then I fell in love with Christian Gimenez and also with Massimo Ceccaroni".
When he decided to become a tennis player, he started supporting FC Basel, his favorite team. Also, he started to think about what he could have been at the team. Professional maybe, playing in the Champions League or even winning it with a goal of his own. "It was only when I stopped playing football that I started supporting Basel, but now it means a lot to me and I follow their results when I'm on the circuit. The worst moment for me was the 2006/2007 season when we lost the league against our main rival, FC Zurich. It all happened on the last day of the season and we lost the league by one point. I was in Rome at the time playing the Masters Series and I remember I was very disappointed". Interestingly, on that day Federer lost in the second round to Italian Filippo Volandri 6-2, 6-4.
Federer is also a loyal admirer and close friend of AS Roma legend Francesco Totti. In the words of the Roman striker: "Actually, I think Federer is tennis and I think I can call him 'my friend'. We often listen to each other through messages because I don't speak English and he doesn't speak Italian, so we use the translator which makes things easier for us. Maybe one day I will challenge him in a paddle match, also because in a tennis match he is too strong for me!"
But now that he has retired from tennis for good, he will have more time to attend St. Jakob Park (FC Basel's stadium).