(CNN) — The opportunity to be coached by Roger Federer would undoubtedly be a dream come true for any young tennis player, not to mention the children of the great Swiss tennis player.
Federer’s twin daughters and twin sons play tennis up to four times a week, and although the 20-time Grand Slam champion is often on the court with them, he assures CNN’s Christina Macfarlane that in most cases, he tries not to mess around.
“I’m not the coach, I’m the father, and the father’s advice, as we know, doesn’t go any further,” Federer, 41, laughs. “It doesn’t matter if you won Wimbledon or not, you’re still the father and sometimes they don’t want to hear what you have to say.”
“I try to be fun, but at the same time I also try to be direct sometimes and teach them. I guess I’m more of a technical trainer, so I try to teach them all the tennis racquets .”
Federer admits he was relieved when his daughters Myla and Charlene didn’t show much interest in tennis when they were younger.
When they were born in 2009, Federer was at the peak of his powers on the pitch and the demands of touring, constantly traveling the world and spending little time at home, would have made it very difficult to spend time pursuing his development and enjoyment. tennis.
“I don’t think we were the crazy tennis parents who said, ‘Girls, you have to go play every day for two hours,'” Federer says.
“But now that they’re about to turn 14, I’m starting to feel it, they want to play more and more.”
While Federer is delighted his sons are now following in his footsteps on the pitch, he says the boys, Lenny and Leo in particular, show promise, it’s their involvement in their charity work that he finds “very special”.
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the Roger Federer Foundation, which has helped more than 2.5 million children in six southern African countries and Switzerland.
The Federer Foundation aims to provide parents, teachers and communities with the tools they need to give children a solid education. His last trip was to Lesotho, which in 2020 became the sixth southern African country to join the foundation.
“Any trip to the countryside is always very special for me, but this one was very special because it was the first time that the four children could come with my wife and also my mother,” Federer said. “So we had a good time.”
“We spent three or four days traveling in Lesotho, a country I had never been to. When we got there, it was not so much a trip for me as for the children. It was more for them, so that they can play with the children in schools, run, play ball and read to each other.
“It was a lot of fun, honestly, to see him as a dad and hope that I could spark the charity and my kids, I think that was very special. So it was a great trip.”
During his visit, Federer played with the children in the sand, read them books and sat down with teachers at the school to discuss the value of giving children responsibility. He feels it’s “very important to be practical” on these trips.
“Seeing their self-confidence grow and verifying that what you’re trying to put into practice works, and that in the end you have to give them power,” he says.
Ahead of defending women’s titleholder Elena Rybakina’s first round match on Tuesday, Federer was honored with a special ceremony on Wimbledon’s iconic Center Court.
The eight-time Wimbledon winner was greeted with a standing ovation as he was introduced to the public and made his way to the royal box at the All England Club.
It was a celebration worthy of a player who has provided this audience with countless memorable moments throughout his 24-year career.
the sad farewell
On September 23, 2022, Federer entered the court for the last time as a professional tennis player. And he did it alongside Rafa Nadal, as the pair, which gave tennis fans the biggest rivalry in the sport’s history, played doubles together at the Laver Cup in London.
The photo of Federer and his longtime rival and friend Nadal shaking hands in tears has become one of the most enduring images of 2022. Over the years, it will undoubtedly become one of the most sports icons.
Federer, now in his 40s, says he had every intention of returning to the tour after several knee surgeries, but in the end he had to admit his injury took its toll.
There was no fairy tale ending as Federer and Nadal were beaten by Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe at the O2 Arena, but after “really dreading” the moment of his retirement, the Swiss superstar says that he couldn’t have asked for a perfect ending. to his extraordinary career.
“The truth is, I haven’t told anyone about it,” he says. “It was more about escapism, but in the end [tuve que] decide: where will I retire? How painful is it going to be? Or how celebratory is it going to be?”
“But it ended up being everything and more for me. I found it beautiful to be surrounded by Rafa, Novak [Djokovic], [Andy] Murray, [Björn] Borg, [John] Mcenroe, [Rod] To see her, [Stefan] Edberg, everyone was there, my team, my family.”
“So that was a very, very nice ending, because I was really dreading that moment of how to leave the game.”