In 2013, Roger Federer played the Swiss Indoors in Basel without any appearance fee. That year the 20-time Grand Slam winner argued with the tournament director Roger Brennwald, who had offered a $1 million appearance fee to Federer but could never get an answer despite calling him many times.
Recalling that episode, speaking to Blick, Federer said: 'In truth, I cannot say that it was a minor matter. It was not easy at all and it touched me deeply. My parents, obviously. But it may be part of a long career – it's not always easy.
The most important thing is that we did our best. That the crowd keeps heading into the stadium, Roger Brennwald is running a great tournament and I am still enjoying here. It's always very special to play in front of my fans once a year.
Playing in front of many friends and parents means a lot to me. And now we have a new stadium after many years, this is special.' Recalling his first appearance in Basel, Federer added: '1998, my first round against Andre Agassi, that was an unbelievable situation for me.
Of course, I lost in straight sets. But after reaching quarter-finals, in 2000, I played the super five-set final against Thomas Enqvist, after beating the great Lleyton Hewitt in semifinals. It was really emotional. I remember spectators were so happy, it was incredible.' Federer is seeking his ninth title in 18 appearances at the Swiss Indoors.