With 19 Grand Slam singles titles under his belt and still being considered a strong contender for his 20th, Roger Federer is widely known as the greatest tennis player to ever live. Federer, whose graceful and artistic style of tennis has wowed millions all over the globe, was kind enough to sit down and answer five questions about his incredible career.
1. You’re in your 20th season as a professional tennis player and still performing at an incredibly high level. What are you doing to stay so healthy?
I owe a lot of credit to my training staff. Many days, I’ll wake up in the morning and my hands will be superglued to the handles of a treadmill with my body flopping wildly against the belt because one of my trainers quietly dragged me onto it while I was asleep and turned the speed all the way up. Other times, one of my trainers will release a crocodile into my house and make me kill it with my tennis racket. I’m not allowed to know my trainers’ names, and they always wear masks to obscure their faces. I owe them everything.
2. Whether you’re blowing out your opponent or losing by a wide margin, you always seem so calm on the court. Do you have any secrets to staying so composed?
Before every match I take a roll of translucent Scotch tape and wrap it tightly around my head while I’m calm. That way, whenever I feel frustrated during a match, the Scotch tape will keep my face looking completely emotionless, and nobody ever notices. The best part is that after the match, I rip it all off my face and bingo—I have a high-protein, high-electrolyte snack.
3. Your matches against Rafael Nadal have been legendary. What’s your relationship with him like outside of tennis?
Every now and then, I’ll meet up with Rafa to play nude laser tag with him. Those games actually might be more legendary than our tennis matches, because neither of us is wearing those vests with the sensors on it, so we usually try to shoot the lasers right into each other’s pupils. I don’t remember why we started doing it nude, but now it would be almost weirder if we stopped doing it nude. Neither of us has technically won yet, but I think I have the edge because Rafa’s lost the ability to see the yellow color spectrum due to years of laser-gun damage.
4. Is there anything you remember doing that was particularly important to your progress in your early days playing tennis?
When I just turned pro, the first time I played Pete [Sampras], I got beat pretty badly. But after the match was over, we both walked to the net and he gave me his tennis racket, which I thought was really kind of him until I found out it had been used in a murder. I told the investigators that it was Pete’s racket, but when they questioned Pete, he said, “If it is my racket, then why is Roger holding it?” which the authorities didn’t have an answer for. I had to serve eight years in prison for that murder, but no one said making your way as a young tennis player is easy.
Yes, of course. But that’s primarily because after every match you lose it’s the umpire’s job to sharply scream the word “retirement” into your ear with a megaphone so you’re aware that’s always an option. My dad will also call me on the phone every now and then and say, “Hello, and retirement,” then immediately hang up. On top of that, every night after my children finish eating their vegetables they pound their fists on the table chanting, “Retirement! Retirement! Retirement!” plus my wife screams “Retirement!” during orgasm. But other than that, I don’t think about it much.