Roger Go, Go Go !!!
Roger Federer plays Real Tennis
15 June 2005. “I can hardly wait to defend my Wimbledon title. I love the atmosphere and the tradition of this tournament. But to be able to play Real Tennis in Hampton Court Palace was also a unique moment and a great experience.”
Just before the annual highlight of the modern tennis season, Roger Federer tried the classic form of his sport: For his sponsor, Maurice Lacroix, the world’s number 1 men’s player tried Real Tennis for the first time before the packed galleries in London’s Hampton Court Palace, where Henry VIII tested his skills in his preferred game almost 500 years ago.
Supported by the former Real Tennis world champion, Chris Ronaldson, he used a heavy, asymmetric wooden racket to hit the solid, handmade balls across the net in the oldest tennis court still in use.
In a doubles match, Roger Federer and passionate Realers, one of whom was the well-known BBC sports reporter, John Inverdale, were matched against Chris Ronaldson. Inverdale also interviewed the Swiss sports star after the match.
This event, organized by Maurice Lacroix for selected British partners and media representatives, was more than just another sponsoring appearance for Roger Federer and the invited guests.
“The history of tennis has always fascinated me. And I was really excited to be able to play historic Real Tennis, the predecessor of modern tennis, with the real champions of this game.” Roger Federer joined illustrious company with his appearance.
Former tennis pros, such as Stan Smith, Martina Navratilova, or Gabriela Sabatini were big fans of this traditional game within the venerable walls of this royal palace.
Roger Federer, who has been an international ambassador for the Swiss watchmaker Maurice Lacroix since June 2004, not only felt at home on the court because of the explosive style of today’s Real Tennis, but also because of the formal etiquette and the courteous and, in part curious, customs, which have survived for centuries in this game.