Sunday 25 February 2018

Roger Federer eyes family future away from tennis

Roger Federer celebrates after victory in men's singles match against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov on day three of the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament
Roger Federer celebrates after victory in men's singles match against Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov on day three of the 2016 Australian Open tennis tournament

Tom Allnutt

Roger Federer hopes his children choose not to follow in their father's footsteps as the Swiss says he would grow bored with 40 years of tennis.

Federer's twin six-year-old daughters, Myla and Charlene, were both in attendance as the 34-year-old cruised into the Australian Open third round with a 6-3 7-5 6-1 victory over Ukraine's Alexandr Dolgopolov.

The girls, who are six years old, were more interested in their books than their father's victory in Rod Laver Arena and Federer said he would be relieved if they avoided a tennis career.

"I think it's 40 years on the tennis tour that doesn't excite me, you know? Forty years straight, I think that's what it would be," said Federer, who also has twin boys, Leo and Lenny.

"I will support them all the way whatever they want to do but I don't see myself doing that right now.

"I'd rather support them in another sport. Go see them be a super skier. That would be exciting.

"To go watch tennis matches, I don't know. As much as I love it now, I'm just not sure what my excitement level will be in 20 years' time from now."

Also watching on from Federer's box was his new coach Ivan Ljubicic, who joined long-time mentor Severin Luthi on the team in December after Stefan Edberg left to spend more time at home.

Edberg enjoyed two years with Federer and made a big impact, reviving the veteran's attacking instincts and helping him play some of his best tennis in 2014.

"Of course I miss him. It's normal. He was a great asset on the team. Nicest guy ever," Federer said.

"I have got used to Ivan now being on the team for the last sort of month or so. It's not that different anymore like it maybe was at the very beginning.

"But it was always very special of course looking up to the player box and seeing Stefan there. It always felt somewhat surreal to have him support me and be there for me. That's why I had a great time with him.

"It was his birthday yesterday. I congratulated him for that. Hopefully we can speak in the next few days and see how he's doing. We had a great time.

"Looking ahead, I'm excited with Ivan and Severin and the rest of the gang."

Federer was rarely troubled by Dolgopolov, hitting 39 winners and wrapping up victory in just an hour and 33 minutes.

The result sets up an intriguing third-round clash with Bulgarian Grigor Dimitrov, who was once considered a potential successor to Federer's dominance but has struggled to fulfil his potential.

"I think it's a tough draw," Federer said. "He's got the game to be really dangerous. He's fit enough for a five-setter so I've definitely got to bring my best game to the court on Friday."

Japan's Kei Nishikori and France's Jo-Wilfried Tsonga also moved safely through, as did Czech sixth seed Tomas Berdych, who will face flamboyant Australian Nick Kyrgios in round three.

Press Association

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