“Federer fell into another category than just a tennis player”, according to Marc Rosset

What is your first memory of Roger Federer?

I was training in Geneva, I had heard that there was a youngster who was playing well at the National Center in Ecublens and I had brought him in for sparring. The least we can say is that he was relaxed! Myself, when I was young, I served as sparring for Henri Leconte and if I played with a guy already on the circuit, I was on the job. Him, you felt a detachment, he was relaxed, relaxed, not too stressed the young!

Did you imagine it producing such a career?

He went a lot further than I thought. I beat him in Marseille (in the final in 2000) and there, I knew that the guy was going to win tournaments. But it’s impossible to see a guy who plays well and tell you ‘He’s going to win 20 Grand Slams, 103 ATP tournaments’. Because these are unreal numbers.

On the same subject

Tennis: Roger Federer, the Maestro leaves the stage

At 41, the champion with 20 Grand Slam titles has decided to end his career at the end of the Laver Cup, from September 23 to 25. Beyond his huge track record, the Swiss remains a true icon of sport

What is more remarkable?

Her personality. The first time I saw him, I loved the direct guy. He listens, he is self-critical, you can criticize him and he listens to you, he won’t get offended. When he talks to you, he’s totally with you, it’s not ‘fake’. And he remembers things from the past. He’s not the guy who suddenly becomes a star and no longer calculates you. He is someone who is quite simple in the end. Sometimes you find that people who are really on top of what they do have a way of life that’s – get rid of the gimmicks, the private planes and all that stuff – pretty simple on a day-to-day basis.

Is he the GOAT?

If you put the arithmetic cursor, for now it’s Nadal. If you put the cursor on what he transmitted to the sport, the impact he had on people, I think he is in front. He was the first at this level. Would Nadal and Djokovic have gotten to where they are without Federer? You always need a locomotive to want to overtake. There are people who followed tennis without loving tennis, to watch Federer. He fell into another category than the simple tennis player. There was a kind of release, grace… There was a different thing that emerges when you see him playing at the top level.

What moment shared with him do you remember?

The moments that marked me the most were moments of sadness. The funeral of Peter Carter (ex-Australian coach of Federer killed in a car accident during a safari in 2002, editor’s note), it was a horrible moment. I saw it destroyed and it broke my heart. Otherwise, there was this time when we went skiing […] I thought his career was over! It was at the very beginning of her career, we were in Crans Montana, we were skiing on the track where they do the women’s downhill (in the Alpine Skiing World Cup, editor’s note). At first, we take it easy and then faster and faster. A moment, […] it takes a bump and I see it fly away… but a jump like the champions! The guy goes back, disappears […] I stop, I look and 30m below, he had farted his face. I arrive at his level, I ask him ‘nothing broken?’ he tells me ‘it’s good’. And I do OUFFF.

What will he do now?

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