Former tennis player Alexander Waske recently paid tribute to Roger Federer’s friendly disposition, asserting that he has never seen the 40-year-old act in a pompus manner in all his years on the ATP tour.
In a recent column he wrote for Tennis Magazin, Waske declared that, despite his unprecedented success, the Swiss conducted himself with an honesty that served to keep him grounded and humble.
The German recalled an incident from several years back – from the 2006 French Open, to be precise – to prove his point. Waske revealed that he and Federer were watching an unnamed player struggle with nerves during an important match, and recounted how the former World No. 1 admitted that it was something he struggled with as well.
The 46-year-old disclosed that he was in awe of the World No. 26 after the incident because of his openness to show his vulnerability to his fellow players, instead of keeping up his air of invincibility.
“In all my years, I have never seen Roger Federer arrogant and disrespectful towards other players. During the 2006 French Open, we were in the massage room watching a match of a player who was about to win the biggest game of his career and suddenly couldn’t hit the ball,” Waske said.
“Roger said: ‘My God, he’s tight.’ The second we thought that he could talk well as a player and levitate above things, he turned around and said: ‘Don’t we all know how does that feel?’ That was where I saw Roger from the vulnerable and honest side,” he added
“You can compare Roger Federer’s mindset to actors who also get into feelings and not only pretend but also feel these feelings” – Alexander Waske
Alexander Waske also spoke at length about Roger Federer’s mindset during matches, something he considered key to the 20-time Grand Slam champion’s continued success. In a conversation with Waske, the Swiss had revealed to him that he preferred to go into contests as the favorite because it helped him enjoy his presence on the court even more and it was a feeling he was comfortable with.
“I once asked him, ‘Roger, I often cramp up when I go into a match as the favorite. How do you deal with that?’ He said, ‘I need to feel like a favorite. I always go onto the pitch with the same feeling because I know how it feels when I’m playing well.’ That surprised me because no one feels the same all the time. Every day is different. He said that the lightness on the pitch is a matter of feeling and he [simply] slips into this feeling,” Waske said
Roger Federer. «I thought I had a really good attitude. It was maybe one of the first times I felt at peace out there, really calm. It’s the big picture that matters. I was just sitting there, relaxing. This is how I wanted to be.» #Federer
The German noted how the World No. 26 extended the same mindset to his pre-match routines as well, ensuring that he had a “feeling of lightness” that kept him cool and composed. The 46-year-old likened this approach to actors who train themselves to feel the appropriate emotions when portaying a role, noting that it was exactly what Federer did to mentally prepare himself before matches.