Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer was supposed to be finished. Or at least exiting gracefully, getting on with his transition to post-tennis things. But then, in January, after five years without a Grand Slam and a season sidelined by injury, he went ahead and won again. Not as the unflappable perfectionist but, for the first time, as a rangy underdog.
In the immediate afterglow of the Australian Open, Federer brought GQ to his mountaintop home in Switzerland, where we learned about his life off the court and just how much longer he feels he can pull off the impossible.
In an interview to GQ , Federer showed off his fashion statements and no doubt given the shots he posed all were aces down the center .
But then, a few months ago, something happened. Something extraordinary. Defying all expectations, Federer won this year’s Australian Open. His 18th major title (the most ever for a man in his sport) and his first Grand Slam in five years.
It couldn’t have come at a more pivotal moment. Early in the tournament, during an on-court interview, Federer acknowledged his underdog status—reminding fans that the only thing he’d won lately was GQ’s Most Stylish Man (an online competition in which readers carried him to victory over Kanye West and Ryan Gosling). “At least I won something,” he said wryly, referring to a 14-month trophy drought—and this from a guy whose life is essentially predicated on winning, shattering records with no grunts, no sweat: 302 weeks as world number one.
To start, Federer looked relatively normal when we met, and definitely Swiss: dark turtleneck sweater, crisp wool pants, black boots. Hiking is Federer’s favorite hobby (his only hobby), but snow was falling and his legs were tired from Australia, so we went out to lunch, for raclette (at his suggestion), a traditional Swiss dish for après-ski, basically a plate of melted cheese