BNE Magazine_ISSUE#2_COVER_LR - page 10

cover story
ustralians love Roger Federer and the
feeling is mutual – he was the first
of the top seeds to sign up for this
summer’s Brisbane International. As one of
the greatest players of all time the Swiss native
spends a lot of the year travelling with wife
Mirka and their twin daughters, but it’s not
always to play tennis…
How many holidays do you take a year?
Two or three. I have to fit holidays around
tournaments, particularly the Grand Slams, in
Melbourne, Paris, London and New York.
Do you take your family to tournaments?
For now, yes. My twin daughters, Charlene and
Myla, are only four, so we still travel as a family,
which will change when they start school.
What is your favourite city?
Rome. I am a sucker for those old traditional
places and Rome is as good as it gets, particularly
when you throw in Italian food. Last time I was
there, I went on an open-top bus ride with my
children which was wonderful. You are admiring
one beautiful old building, then you notice an
even better one across the street.
Your idea of a perfect holiday spot?
A place where I can get away from it all with
my family and enjoy some peace and privacy.
The last family holiday I took was in the
Maldives which fitted the bill perfectly – it
was the third time I had been. I just want to
relax and feel the sand between my toes.
Where else have you visited recently?
Mauritius, the Seychelles, Thailand, the
Caribbean...As you can tell from that list, I
like beautiful places with quiet beaches.
So privacy is important to you?
I don’t mind fans coming up in a friendly,
respectful way. That’s all part of the fun of
being a top tennis player. But if people take
pictures without permission, particularly if my
children are in the shot, I feel uncomfortable.
Where do you train between tournaments?
I use Dubai as my training base and own an
apartment there – I have been going since
The 17-time Grand Slam winner travels most of the year and it’s not always for the
tennis. He tells
Max Davidson
what he likes about holidays
On the road with Roger Federer
2004. In the winter it offers the ideal climate
for training. The heat can be intense – I have
known temperatures as high as 48°C – but I
don’t mind. It is also perfectly located for when
I have to travel to Australia or the Far East.
What else do you like about Dubai?
It’s a fun place. All those skyscrapers are
amazing. A few years ago, Andre Agassi and I
played a game of tennis on the highest court in
the world, on the helipad of the Burj Al Arab
hotel. I recently had
breakfast on the
123rd floor of
the Burj Khalifa,
the world’s
tallest building,
in the middle of a
thunderstorm. That was
pretty cool.
Any favourite Dubai
La Petite Maison is fabulous.
There are also some great
restaurants on the Palm,
including Voi, which
serves French–influenced
Vietnamese food.
Where else in Asia appeals?
So many places. It is an
extraordinary part
of the world.
I always
enjoy trips
to China. My
tennis schedule
involves regular
events in Shanghai
and Beijing, but the
big cities are just a tiny
part of the story.
I have also been to
India with UNICEF
which was an incredible
experience, and I really
enjoyed Japan. Further
down the line, I would love to go to Vietnam
and Cambodia.
How about Africa?
Well, my mother is South African, but I haven’t
seen many other African countries – she didn’t
take me when I was a child. But I am looking
forward to exploring the continent properly
when I have a bit more time on my hands. Top
of my wishlist probably would be Botswana,
Victoria Falls and Egypt.
Do you follow other sports while travelling?
Wherever I am in the world, I take an interest
in the local sports obsession. In Australia,
I follow cricket and in the United States, I
follow basketball and the NFL.
Roger Federer plays at the Brisbane
International from 29 December to 5
January at Queensland Tennis Centre.
The Daily Telegraph / The Interview People. Image: Georgios Kefalas/AP/Keystone
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