squaremeal.co.uk | 175
Swedish journalist �res the
�rst question before we have
even sat down. Roger Federer
returns the serve with charm
and eloquence as the next
journalist makes a play. The
rally has started and the hacks are hungry
and tense. Federer, on the other hand, is
displaying that serenity he has become
famous for. Even after �ve sets with a top
player, you could often be forgiven for
thinking he'd just stepped out of the salon.
I'm meeting Federer in Champagne in
his ocial capacity as the face of Moët
Chandon. Relaxed, and wearing a dark suit
with a polka dot shirt, there isn't even a
hint of fatigue in his brown eyes. Given that
he has two new babies at home I wonder
if he may have some kind of superpower
that other new parents lack.
Leo and Lenny are Federer's second
set of twins, born in May - almost
�ve years after their older sisters,
Charlene and Myla. An amazing
coincidence that Twinstwice.
com says has about about
a 1 in 3,000 chance of
occurring. Follow that
with another amazing
coincidence: he's not
the only tennis player
to have his own
game of doubles.
years ago I
met a guy in
me he has two sets of twins and I said,
"Oh that's nice, we'll probably never have
that..." A few years later, here we go!'
Federer's wife, Mirka, and their children
travel to tennis tournaments with him,
and while some might think of giving it all
up for the family, he's determined to have
it all. For a while at least.
'When we had the �rst twins I was young
as a tennis player so it was clear I wasn't
going to stop. My wife wanted to travel
with me and I wanted her to, so it was
obvious that I was going to keep playing.'
Fortunately, he's not a fan of 'me time'.
'I don't like coming back to my room and
there's just no sound,' he says.
Dinner out with the missus is one of
his favourite pastimes and the pair enjoy
sampling the cuisines of the countries they
visit. Surprisingly, he was a vegetarian until
he was about 16. 'I �nally turned a corner
and got into eating �sh and meat through
travelling. Today, I look at a menu and I'm
like, "OK, anything goes".'
Game, set and Moët
His family isn't the only thing that keeps
him on his toes. He's picked up the mantle
as the face of Moët Chandon from
Hollywood royalty Scarlett Johansson.
Despite her diminutive size (she's 5ft 3
inches), Johansson left big shoes to �ll.
'When they approached me, I was like,
"What, me? After Scarlett Johansson?" She
has been such a good brand ambassador.
'For me as a professional athlete, [this
opportunity] came at the right time because
when I was 20, 23, I couldn't have signed
a deal with an alcohol brand. When Moët
explained the idea and philosophy, it made
me feel comfortable. I have always loved its
history and it has been in tennis for a while.'
Sport and celebration go hand in hand,
especially if you've had as much to celebrate
as Federer. Now aged 32, he holds
17 Grand Slam titles and 78
Oh, and a couple of Olympic medals for good
measure. Moët's latest two Grand Vintages
mark amazing years for the tennis player.
'I've had the 2004 Grand Vintage to
celebrate, because that's an emotional year -
I became world number one for the �rst time.
But 2006 has probably been a better year
personally - I played such incredible tennis.
I think I was in the �nals of almost every
tournament I played, it was unbelievable.'
On and oª the court, Federer cuts a stylish
�gure and his friendship with US Vogue editor
Anna Wintour is well documented. He has his
own brand in RF with Nike, and his fashion
mantra would be at home in Wintour's
magazine: 'You have to dress in what you're
comfortable in. I like to take chances as long
as I feel comfortable and I feel I'm wearing the
clothes and not the clothes are wearing me.'
In to win
Before a bout of glandular fever in 2008,
Federer enjoyed many other sports,
including football, basketball and skiing. 'I
stopped because I didn't want to get injured
and I wanted to save energy for what I was
really doing, which is playing tennis.'
In fact, it was skiing that caused Federer
to rebel as a teen against the sacri�ces
involved in being an elite athlete. He
explains: 'One time I actually missed the
Swiss junior championships so I could go
with school on a skiing trip. My parents were
like, "Are you crazy?", but I said, "You know
what? I don't need to take every single junior
tournament, it'll be OK".' He was right.
That element of calculated rebellion is
still present in Federer, who feels like he's
�nally proved himself. 'I remember the days
when I was playing on court 18 with no
people watching. Now I'm on centre court
with 15,000 people. I don't have to play
tournaments because I feel it's the right
thing to do… I play because I want to play
that event; I don't feel I have to prove myself
any more, I just have to keep the �re burning
and I really want to win. Just because I have
four kids and I've had a lot of success doesn't
mean that just playing is OK. I need to have
an urge to win otherwise there is no point.'
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