Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer says his match against Franco Squillari in Hamburg 2001 proved to be a turning point for him in his career. Federer lost that match in straight sets to Squillari but says his behaviour on court during the match upset his support team, including his parents, and he vowed to improve his behaviour on the court thereafter.
Roger Federer on how he improved his on-court behaviour
In an interview to the German media outlet Zeit, Federer says, "I remember a match against Franco Squillari in Hamburg 2001 (lost 6-3, 6-4), where I gave a very bad image of myself.
I was playing badly and ended up breaking my racquet. I saw how my family, my staff and my trainers looked at me and I felt that I could never again have this behavior on a court. I realized that I definitely had to change. It was a long process and I got help from a psychologist.
It took me two years to find the perfect balance between passion and calm." Federer also spoke about how difficult and lonely the sport of tennis is, which is why players often talk to themselves on the court. "Tennis is a very special sport.
It is very difficult to spend hours and hours on the field, with a lot of tension and stress, and not even being able to ask for anything your family or your trainer. This is why we speak to ourselves. Some may think that we are crazy, but sometimes we have to talk to ourselves to release the tension and regain the necessary concentration."
The Swiss superstar also spoke about the efforts of his parents in his career and how they gave him a two-year window to prove himself on the court or go back to school. "My parents spent around 30,000 Swiss francs a year to pay for my tennis training (around 28,000 euros).
But they were skeptical about my ability to become a professional player. When I was 16, I asked them if I should leave school to get 100% involved in tennis. My father gave me two years to succeed. If I failed or were unable to become a professional player, I had to go back to school."
Roger Federer is currently recuperating from a knee injury, for which he underwent a second procedure last month. The Swiss legend has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles - more than any other player in men's tennis and says he will be back for the 2021 season.