Hello, Roger

30 Questions with Roger

That day, there was a freak snowfall in Zurich, where Roger makes his home.
At the tennis club in his hometown, where he still goes to train, the superstar kicked back on a sofa and smiled.
“Alright, let's get started. Ask me anything you like.”

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Q1. Tell us about your most memorable match.

I think it has to be Pete Sampras at Wimbledon 2001. Pete was my hero at the time.

Q2. What player influenced you the most?

Stefan Edberg. He had this calm demeanor. Fans and journalists loved him. People only ever had good things to say. The two years he spent coaching me were such an honor and a pleasure.

Q3. What was your outlook in your teens, before you went pro?

I honestly hoped I could win Wimbledon someday. It wasn’t just a silly joke or dream. It was my real-life goal. I wanted to be Edberg. I wanted to be Sampras.

Q4. How do you keep your emotions in check during a match?

When I have a bad point, I just try to forget it. When I was younger, I brushed my towel over my face, like a kid with a security blanket. I had a chance to think, “OK, the point was in the past – we’re moving on to the next one.”

Q5. What do you tell yourself when things aren’t going well?

I try to stay positive. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel. Things can always change. If the opponent plays a better game, I accept the situation for what it is and move on to the next one.

Q6. How do you stay healthy when you’re travelling the world?

Sleep is really important. When you get enough sleep, you wake with all this energy, and that’s a beautiful feeling. Sleep deprivation is the worst. It makes you cranky. Next thing you know, you're sick or injured.

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Q7. How do you fend off jet lag?

My secret is making sure I eat at the right times. That and keeping busy on the day you arrive, to make sure you get a good night’s sleep. And hydrating is also very helpful in avoiding jet lag.

Q8. Do you have any strict habits, to help improve your game?

Not really, other than trying to stay optimistic.

Q9. Where would you be if you hadn’t become a tennis player?

Football was my other passion as a kid, but I always knew I wanted to play tennis.

Q10. Do you play tennis with your family?

Yes, I do play with them sometimes and I really enjoy it. What I love about it is how nice it feels to be together, doing something active as a family.

Q11. What’s the best way to get better at tennis?

Stay passionate. If you fall out of love with the game, you won't be able to take the heat, whether it's practice or a match.

Q12. Do you have a motto?

When I was young, I heard something that really stuck. “It's nice to be important, but more important to be nice.” Everybody wants to be the center of attention. But actually that’s not what’s most important. It's how you treat others, I try to treat everyone the same, because I think we're all the same at the end of the day. We all live on this planet together and we should all be nice to one another.

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Q13. What does it mean to be a gentleman?

I think it’s being classy, having style. It all comes down to your personal values. In the back of my head, I’m always repeating this thing my parents told me, that the secret to success is being nice.

Q14. Who’s the most stylish person out there?

I was lucky enough to have dinner with Tom Ford once. He knew quite a bit about tennis, and obviously fashion, but we also had a great talk about art, movies, and books. There’s so much going on in the mind of somebody creative like him. Then he was nice enough to ask about my mindset as a professional athlete, my values, how I handle stress, the whole physical aspect of it, all kinds of things. It was so interesting sharing our different experiences.

Q15. Do you have any collections?

It’s funny, my dad used to collect stamps. When my family’s at the beach, we like to pick up seashells. And then we go to the forest and collect a lot of sticks. My kids love sticks. You should see our garage.

Q16. Have you ever done karaoke?

I have, in Tokyo actually. I’m a terrible singer, though.

Q17. What’s your favorite Instagram account?

National Geographic, because of all the gorgeous photographs.

Q18. What’s the nicest thing that anyone’s ever said to you?

Last night, when I was having dinner with my friend, he looked at me and told me what I’m doing on the tennis court at my age is amazing but he thinks that maybe even better days are ahead of me, which to me meant that he really believes in my character.

Q19. What would you tell the person you were twenty years ago?

“You’re gonna have a lot of time, so don’t stress out. Don’t get bogged down sweating the small stuff.” That sort of thing.

Q20. Where do you see yourself in twenty years?

I hope that I’m healthy enough to still be playing sports in twenty years, but a huge goal for me is to see my philanthropic efforts make a difference in the world.

Q21. If you could solve one of the mysteries of the world, what would it be?

The question of extraterrestrial life. Space is such a big place. There must be something out there.

Q22. Who would you like to meet the most?

I would have loved to have met Nelson Mandela. He was a great man.

Q23. Why work with UNIQLO? We’re not a sports brand.

I might retire from tennis at some point, but not from life. UNIQLO understands that about me. After all, it’s more than just a clothing company. It’s a lifestyle. That’s what makes it LifeWear.

Q24. What’s your favorite place in Switzerland?

Basel has to be my favorite city, since it’s where I grew up, but apart from that, Switzerland has so much natural beauty that I don’t know where to start. Every time I see the Matterhorn, I feel fortunate that I was born here.

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Q25. Do you think UNIQLO is a good fit for Switzerland?

I’d love UNIQLO to open up a nice store in the busy part of Zurich. They could even put a nice Japanese restaurant on top. UNIQLO has everything you need to dress yourself from head to toe, in all the different seasons. I think they’d find a happy home in Switzerland.

Q26. Is there something from UNIQLO you couldn't live without?

Hands down, the puffy jackets (ULD). I think they make great socks, too. The jeans I’m wearing for this particular photo shoot are great as well.

Q27. What matters most to you when you're designing gamewear?

I love working out all the finer details with my team at UNIQLO. Developing the gamewear line is what I've been enjoying most. Tennis has such a great history, and I want to find new ways of celebrating that. I’m trying very hard. I hope that people look to me and say, “I love that tennis outfit Roger’s wearing.”

Q28. Where would you like to visit next for tennis?

South Africa. My mom’s actually from there. Then, quite honestly, I love Asia. I like travelling all around Asia and playing in places I’ve only heard about, enjoying all the different sights, cultures and textures.

Q29. Tell us more about the Roger Federer Foundation.

It focuses on early childhood education in Southern Africa and the underpriveleged children of Switzerland. The mission of the Foundation is to help children living in poverty. To make them strong, and give them opportunities. Help them through new buildings. Through more educated teachers. Give them a chance to go to school.

Q30. Do you have plans to play in Japan anytime soon?

Of course I’d love to play in Japan more often. Japan is one of those places I really enjoy visiting. Thanks to my connection with UNIQLO, I have so many Japanese friends now. I hope we can make it this year and the next. Plus, there’s the Olympics coming up in 2020. Although who knows if I'll have a chance to play. We shall see.

Roger Federer / Professional Tennis Player
Born in 1981 in Basel, Switzerland. In 2004, he became the world No. 1 for the first time, and held the top position for a record setting 237 weeks. As of July 2019, he has won a record 20 Grand Slam single titles, including a record 8 Wimbledon titles. Roger is a Global Brand Ambassador for UNIQLO.

Photography by Theo Wenner, Videography by Takashi Hirukawa,
Styling by Jim Moore, Interview by UNIQLO

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