Roger Federer has been playing tennis on Key Biscayne since he was a junior in the Orange Bowl tournament. He is back at the Miami Open for the 17th time, and first time as world No. 1 since 2010. He sat down with the Miami Herald on Thursday and answered 10 questions...
Q: Have you ever driven in Miami?
A: Yes, of course. I’m at the wheel 90 percent of the time here. I like driving in America because in general you can overtake left and right on the highways, which in Switzerland you’re not allowed to do. There, you can only overtake left, and if you overtake right, you get a fine. Also, I like to turn right on red in America. It’s like, hey, look at that, I’m turning even though the light is red. So, that’s good for traffic. I enjoy it. It gives me a sense of freedom. I put the windows down, turn the music up, it’s great. I love it.
Q: What do you listen to in the car?
A: I listen to Sirius radio. Here, when I’m in Miami, I go back to my roots, listen to BPM and all the dance channels. Or, I listen to Chill. Sometimes I go to 80s, 90s and 2K. I like listening to a lot of dance music when I’m in Miami to get into the whole pulse here. I like listening to some Latin radio, too.
Q: Where do you like to take your kids when you’re in Miami?
A: We like to take them to the museums, the Children’s Museum. Sports activities. They like going to the beach and parks.
Q: As the parent of four young children – two sets of twins -- what parenting advice would you give to parents of twins or multiple kids?
A: I try to spend alone time with two kids at a time. Sometimes I can get a half hour alone time with one at a time, but with four, it’s hard to find the time. The problem when you have a lot of kids, sometimes you stay on the surface a bit too often, and you need to talk to them. In the end of the days, between six and nine o’clock, when they go to bed, this is when everything unwinds and you can talk to them about how they’re feeling, do they need to tell me anything? For me, it helps to have a schedule for the kiddies. You have to maintain a rhythm with bedtime and meals, bathing. Wherever we are in the world, they know that’s a given. The rest of the day is playful and educational.
Q: Life mantra you live by?
A: Respect everyone. Be honest. I once heard this saying, it said “It’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice.” I heard that way back when I was 18, and I feel it sums up how I feel.
Q: If you weren’t a tennis player, what would you be?
A: A retired soccer player by now. I was hoping to be a soccer player once upon a time. I liked midfield and scoring goals, but in the end I chose tennis because I didn’t want to blame the goalie or defender, I wanted to be in total control. But if the question is what would I do as a retired tennis player, I’d dedicate my life to philanthropy, to my kiddies, to being a good dad and husband.
Q: Your house is on fire, and you have to run in and take out three items. What would they be?
A: I don’t need anything from the house. As long as everybody’s safe, it’s all good.
Q: You’ve traveled to so many places in the world. Is there anyplace you haven’t been that you’d like to go?
A: I’d love to travel to Africa more extensively. I’d love to go on a road trip in Europe and see Italy and France and Germany and Austria and maybe summer in Sweden, Finland, Norway. I’m passionate about Asia. I’ve been to many of those places, but just seen the big cities from a tennis perspective. I’d like to go out in the country more, even here in America, I’ve always flown and you don’t get enough scenery. That’s why I like to drive in the cities. I drive in Melbourne, Dubai, Miami, Cincinnati, Basel, in Sydney on the other side of the road, drove in London. It gives me a better sense of orientation.
Q: If you could be a rock star, who would you be?
A: Angus Young from AC/DC, amazing guitarist. I’ve seen him in concert. I used to play the piano. Would be cool to be like Elton John, to be able to sing and play the piano. It’s very inspiring and I love listening to it.
Q: What’s in your racket bag?
A: I have a racket bag and a tennis bag. In the tennis bag I have seven match shirts, four pairs of socks, underwear, shorts, headband, wristbands and another pair of shoes. In my racket bag it’s eight strung rackets, a bar to eat, my drinks, a marker for signing stuff, my badge somewhere, I can never find it, and sunglasses.