Roger Federer opens up: 'I was quite lonely at National Tennis Centre'

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Roger Federer opens up: 'I was quite lonely at National Tennis Centre'

Roger Federer made his first tennis steps at the age of three, hitting against various objects in his backyard and falling in love with the sport more and more. In 1993, Roger became the national U12 champion in Lucerne, leaving football behind and focusing on tennis alone.

During that time, Roger often trained at the Old Boys Tennis Club at home in Basel, meeting Peter Carter there and becoming a great friend with his coach that taught him a lot. At the end of 1994, the young Federer started to think about moving to the National Tennis Centre in Ecublens on Lake Geneva and went there next year, beginning to work with Pierre Paganini, who is still one of the most influential persons behind his success.

Federer was the youngest player in the training group in Ecublens, not speaking French and having no friends to hang around with. Little by little that all changed, and Roger became a great friend with Vincent Christinet in whose family he was staying, feeling much better and starting to show that on the court as well.

Roger Federer did not feel well at the National Tennis Center.

"When I was around 13, my parents asked me if I wanted to go to the National Tennis Center. First, I said no, as I wanted to stay at home. Then I saw a tape, half a year or a year later, and suddenly I got interested.

I told the press that I'm quite interested in going there and training. My parents read that, and we started talking about it, looking at the positive and negative sides. I went to play there, and they thought I had some talent, so they took me.

It was almost my decision to go there; my parents helped me choose a little bit. In the beginning, I was quite lonely there. The first six months were very tough because I'm from the German-speaking part of Switzerland and could not speak French or have any friends there for that reason.

I was in a family which was very nice to me, but I did not have any success in those first couple of months. Then I got to know all the players and the coaches and learned the language, which helped me. It helps me now as well; I can speak three languages perfectly," Roger Federer said.