Roger Federer says he came very close to choosing to concentrate on playing football rather than tennis as a child, but he’s ‘thankful’ he picked the latter.
The Swiss ace has since gone on to become one of the undoubted all-time tennis greats, with no man able to boast more Grand Slam titles than him.
However, in a question and answer video for social media, he explained how he very nearly missed his calling.
“I think in my world that I grew up in Switzerland, education always comes first and sports wasn’t really a way of life,” Federer said. “But then, I remember playing badminton or ping pong or tennis, in the backyard of my friend’s house.
“We were like, ‘and the winner of Wimbledon is Roger Federer!’. … So I think I was dreaming of winning the Wimbledon.
“Playing against the wall, playing doubles with my parents… realising that tennis had so much more to it than just hitting a ball. I also played football, [but] never looked back.
“I always enjoyed it, but eventually, I had to take a decision if it was gonna be football or tennis. Thankfully, I chose tennis.
Federer also shared some anecdotes about his very early days playing tennis.
“My first ever match, I lost 6-0, 6-0,” he recalled. “I heard some rumours that maybe, ‘he was not that good like we thought he was’.
“I kept on practicing hard. I started playing more tournaments. I started to become more successful, even as a junior. Nationally, I became a junior Swiss champion when I was 12 years old.
“Jokingly, I put up a sign on the wall that said, ‘Junior World Champion lives here’. We were leaving the next day. The Swiss junior team – when they knocked on the door, on my, sort of, dorm, everybody was laughing.”
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