Roger Federer is always a crowd favorite in Melbourne, where he’s won three of his record 15 Grand Slam singles titles and reached the semifinals or better for six straight years.
If only he’d been an Aussie, the fans at Rod Laver Arena were lamenting Saturday, they wouldn’t be in the midst of a drought. Federer has revealed that his parents considered immigrating from Switzerland to Australia when he was a young teen and his father did a three-month work stint Down Under.
“I remember my parents having a debate, are we moving away from Switzerland to come live over here?” Federer said. “And even though it’s lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country —at the end they decided to stay in Switzerland.”
“We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne and Brisbane and Cairns and everything to maybe get a better idea of the country,” he recalled. “Beautiful vacation.”
But it didn’t do the trick. Federer returned to Europe and attended a tennis academy, and said he doesn’t regret not becoming an Australian.
Federer also has South African citizenship, from his mother, Lynette.
It was already another late night at Melbourne Park when French Open champion Svetlana Kuznetsova walked out on court for her third-round match.
Some players relegated to the late match this week have questioned why they are starting their matches after 10 p.m. Kuznetsova didn’t even start her warmup until almost 11:30 p.m. and finished off victory at 1:43 a.m. Saturday.
“I don’t think even men should play at 2 in the morning because, for me, I grew up in a sporting family and my parents always taught me to wake up at 8 and to go to bed at 10,” she said. “If I’m used to going to bed at 10, today I would go nuts.”
Earlier in the week, Australian Bernard Tomic complained about event organizers scheduling his match so late. He lost a grueling five-setter to Croatia’s Marin Cilic, playing nearly four hours and finishing shortly after 2 a.m..
It’s not always tennis that energizes defending champion Rafael Nadal.
The highlight of his day Friday? His victory with Argentine Juan Monaco in a Playstation soccer game against two Spanish players . Nadal, who writes a Q&A blog for Melbourne’s Herald Sun newspaper, said the fun game even gathered spectators in the room. “I know it sounds bad saying this for many reasons ... because tennis is why we are here and that is the priority, because it is not nice to promote your own victories, because Moya is older than me,” Nadal wrote in Saturday’s edition. “But it was such an important match, so much tension in it and everything, that I had to mention it!.”