Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic marked and continue to mark an era: they have been at the highest level for almost two decades and, consequently, their presence in the most important tournaments is a subject without discussion.
However, the coronavirus pandemic and its consequent restrictions and some injuries to the Big3 led to several events not having their presence. Indeed, the three have not participated in just four Masters 1000s since they turned pro (Paris-Bercy 2004, Miami 2021, Toronto 2021 and Cincinnati 2021).
Federer won five consecutive US Open titles
During the conversation with Steve Tignor, Christopher Clarey pointed out that Roger Federer knows where to draw the line between his private and professional lives. "But as you point out, he (Roger Federer) has a closed-book side, too," Clarey said.
"He has learned the value of controlling the flow of information from his team, particularly from his fitness trainer Pierre Paganini, and has also kept a tight lid on his private life. Unlike say Jelena Djokovic, Mirka Federer is non-existent on social media and essentially stopped giving interviews 15 years or so ago despite being a very strong personality and former top 100 player," the American added.
Clarey, who first rubbed shoulders with the 40-year-old at the 1999 French Open, believes the Swiss is an "open book. "In some ways, he’s (Roger Federer) an open book: he has given the fans, the sport and the media so much of himself," Clarey said.
"My employers—the New York Times and the late, great International Herald Tribune—were big beneficiaries as he granted me a remarkable amount of access, beginning in the early 2000s, in part because of his interest in making inroads in the US market.
I got the chance to interview Federer everywhere from a private plane to the front seat of his Mercedes in the Swiss Alps," Clarey continued. "He is very good company, in part because he likes to know where his inquisitors are coming from (both literally and figuratively).
He has a knack for making an interview feel like a conversation, which is something journalists, not athletes, usually aim for." On his physicality, Federer said, “It works. I was on holiday. I haven’t done anything for a long time because of my knee.
After Wimbledon, I had to let everything sink in first”. (All quotes are translated from German to English via Google Translate). Once upon a time, Roger Federer won five consecutive US Open titles from 2004 to 2008. Since then, he hasn’t won any in New York.