Roger Federer will play at the Swiss Indoors Basel this week. The 38-year-old returns to his hometown seeking to win the title for the tenth time in his career. Federer has always squeezed the tournament into his busy schedule. He has reached the final the last twelve times he has played at the event. Playing is special for the 20-time Grand Slam champion, given his connection to the tournament.
Federer’s time as a ball boy
As a young boy, Federer served as a ball boy at the event. The former world number one lived around the venue of the tournament. Roger has revealed that he would ride his bicycle from his home to the venue to serve as a ball boy. The bicycle ride would take around five to ten minutes. He would carry out his ball boy duties for the whole day and then go back home. Serving at the tournament was a chance for the Swiss to get close to his tennis heroes. At the 1993 edition of the tournament, the winner of the tournament, Michael Stich, handed a 12-year-old Federer a medal. It was customary for the champion to hand over medals to the ball boys at the event. The loser of that year’s final, Stefan Edberg, would later become Roger’s coach.
Federer and the tradition of the Pizza
Federer has since gone on to become one of the greatest tennis players in the game. He holds the record for most Grand Slam titles won by a male player and he has won 102 ATP tour titles in his career. The current world No.3 has also established his own tradition at the Swiss Indoors. The 38-year-old holds a pizza party for the ball boys after the tournament. Regardless of the outcome of his participation at the tournament, Federer has made it a practice to offer the ball boys a pizza. He has said that the practice gives him great joy and that he is happy to inspire young children to follow their tennis dreams.
The 38-year-old is the favorite for this year’s tournament. His longtime rivals Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic will not play in Basel. Nadal got married to Xisca Perello this weekend. He will also play an exhibition match with the world number one in Kazakhstan next week. However, Federer will face some stiff competition from young players such as Alexander Zverev and Stefanos Tsitsipas. The German knocked out the Swiss player last week in the quarterfinals of the Shanghai Masters.
Roger Federer’s ranking and performance in 2019
Ranked no.3, the Swiss played his last match on the 11th of October when he was defeated by Alexander Zverev 6-3 6-77 6-3 in the quarter in Shanghai.
This year Federer has a 45-8 win-loss record. Roger has won 3 titles in 2019 in Dubai, in Miami and in Halle. Roger was the finalist in Indian Wells and in Wimbledon.
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