Just imagine a mini Rogi on the court some day.
Swiss rolled me over
By Fox Sports' John Casey
July 08, 2005
JUMPING out of an airplane provides an experience far too elusive for words.
Class act ... Wimbledon champion Roger Federer. Pic: Reuters
Sadly, even those involved are sometimes denied part of the thrill because the human senses become so overloaded that the mind temporarily shuts down.
This brief blackout is usually broken by the noise of the parachute racing off your back up past your ears to leave you (hopefully) suspended in your own little Utopia, alone except for the wondrous views and the noise that nothing makes - and it is the most beautiful sound.
Astonishingly, at this year's Wimbledon championships, I found myself transported again to that sensual El Dorado, this time by the performance of Roger Federer.
It was not so much by his near flawless execution of Andy Roddick to claim his third Wimbledon crown, for that was shared by some two billion viewers in 170 countries around the world and can be quantified by a litany of statistics.
Losing just one point on serve in the first set is one example, as is a three-year, 36-match unbeaten streak on grass and a 21st consecutive final win.
No, it was hours after that virtuoso Centre Court display that Federer rose to even greater heights, and for me it was a two-minute personal joy flight that made parachuting feel like jumping off the dunny roof on to broken cardboard boxes.
Somehow, the Swiss maestro checked the emotions which had brought him to tears on match point and graced the world's media with his presence - and there is an aura.
As he was shuffled from room to room, respectfully listening to the same questions in English, Swiss, French and German, he calmly responded with considered, genuine answers to people he had just met, but who then left the room feeling as though they had walked on water.
At one point he politely requested a Coca-Cola. When it wasn't immediately available he poured himself a plastic cup of water. Later, when the soft drink materialised, a security guard begged his boss to be able to pass it to him.
Whereas earlier in the day Federer had glided around the court wielding his racquet like a conductor's baton over an unforgettable symphony of stroke play, now he was serenely floating above the post-match mayhem.
Dressed in designer jeans the man moved like a whisper, while those around him fought like fish on a chopping board to be part of the action.
Fox Sports was No.6 on the list of 20 individual television networks, and the only Australian channel that would be given an exclusive audience with Federer.
But I refused to move any further than one metre from the studio door, fearing that somehow I could lose my opportunity.
As my turn drew nearer, more than 20 years media experience was leaking from my body in beads of perspiration, paranoid that the interview would not go as well as planned.
Perhaps this is similar to the intimidation Federer's opponents feel. After all, even the biggest names in tennis have been unable to cope with his game.
He has defeated Lleyton Hewitt eight times in a row, Roddick nine out of 10.
Agassi has enjoyed success only three times in 10 starts and Safin's Australian Open triumph back in January was only the second occasion he had claimed victory in nine encounters.
Pete Sampras played Federer once and lost as well - at Wimbledon no less.
As our conversation unfolded, Federer told of his satisfaction that his victory had been in partnership with coach, Tony Roche, who was previously 0-6 in Wimbledon singles finals.
Roche lost as a player in 1968, and as coach for Pat Rafter in 2000-2001, Ivan Lendl in 1986-1987 and Chris Lewis in1983.
Earlier, in his general press conference, Federer corrected an Australian journalist who had left the word "singles" out of a question regarding Roche.
"He's won more grand slam titles here than me," the learned Swiss replied, referring to the five doubles titles Roche had annexed at the All England Club.
Federer also shared his future plans to be married and become a father. But, like everything else in his life, that must be done to a certain standard of excellence and at the moment his touring commitments would "not be fair" as an environment to be bringing up children.
Federer and his girlfriend Miroslava "Mirka" Vavrinec have been together for five years now, meeting while both were representing Switzerland at the Sydney Olympics. She reached number 76 in the world before injury ended her career, so it is a deep gene pool for the future descendants to draw from.
My two minutes with the champ were over seemingly before they had started, but I'll look forward to renewing my acquaintance with Federer at the last major of the year, the US Open in New York which starts on Fox Sports in late August.
Maybe I'll ask him if he has ever contemplated jumping out of a plane. But then, with the front row seats his senses enjoy on a daily basis, why would he need to.