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CHAMPAGNE SPECIAL

A

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 o†cial capacity as the face of Moët ˆ

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.

'About three

years ago I

met a guy in

wheelchair

tennis

[Stephane

Houdet]

who

told

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 ˆ 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

singles titles.

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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