NEW YORK -Roger Federer had such a temper on the tennis court as a youngster that he was forced to clean toilets for a week as punishment for his bad behavior. This story, as well as the fact that Federer almost became an Australian resident in 1997, are just two of the anecdotes featured in author Rene Stauffer’s book THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION.
Published by New Chapter Press, THE ROGER FEDERER STORY chronicles Federer’s life as tempermental junior player, through his early struggles on the ATP Tour and his break-through win at Wimbledon in 2003 concluding with his 10th Grand Slam title last year at the Australian Open. The book also focuses on his values, how he has been marketed, his relationship with the media as well as his numerous charitable pursuits. The above mentioned anecdotes are excerpted below.
Roger became unpleasant if things weren’t going well on the tennis court. His verbal outbursts were notorious and he often tossed his racquet. Roger personally recounted probably the most embarrassing story from his time in Biel.
“There was a new curtain at the tennis center,” he said. “They said that if someone were to wreck the curtain, they had to clean toilettes for a week. I looked at the curtain and thought that it was so thick that there was no way anybody could wreck it. Ten minutes later, I turned around and hurled my racquet at the curtain like a helicopter. It sliced through the curtain like a knife going through butter.”
Everybody stopped playing and stared at Roger. “No, I thought, that’s impossible, the worst nightmare. I took my things and left. They would have thrown me out anyway.” As punishment, Roger Federer, who hates nothing more than getting up early, had to help the grounds-keeper clean toilets and the tennis court at an ungodly hour of the morning for an entire week.
In 1997, the Federer family was confronted with a momentous decision when Robert received an offer from his employers, Ciba, to take an executive position in Australia. Robert worked for three months each in Melbourne and Sydney on two occasions, and he and his family spent some extended holiday time in the country, visiting Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. They
enjoyed Australia and at first, the plan to move to Australia was an exciting proposition.
However, skepticism grew as the consequences became clearer. The family decided finally to stay in Münchenstein. The Federers did not want to give up their circle of friends and they were uncertain if Roger would have the same opportunities to develop his tennis career as he had in Switzerland
Federer attempts to win major singles championship No. 13 this week at the Australian Open in Melbourne. Federer is two major singles titles shy of equaling the men’s record of 14 set by Pete Sampras and is currently tied with Australia’s Roy Emerson for No. 2 all-time with 12 major titles. Federer plays Novak Djokovic of Serbia in the men’s semifinals on Friday.
THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION has met with many positive reviews from the international media. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “excellent” while Britain’s Daily Telegraph called it “an intimate and insightful portrait.” Wrote Tennis.com of the book; “It’s accessible and sketches out his career development very logically. At the same time, it throws in enough about his personality and the rest of his life to flesh out the tale without turning it into it a flabby puff-piece.”
Other positive reviews have included Charlie Bricker of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, who wrote, “It’s a virtual encyclopedia of Federer’s career. There’s material in there I’ve not seen anywhere else. Fantastic.” Wrote leading tennis website Tennisreporters.net, “It could have easily been called the Encyclopedia Federer.”
The book is not an authorized book by the Federer family, but has been well-received by his inner circle. The Wimbledon champ’s mother, Lynette Federer, uses the book as an encyclopedia on her son’s career. “It’s useful for me, because I often am asked about things and I don’t know for sure without checking,” she told Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger. “Now, I will always know where I can look them up.”
Stauffer is one of the world’s leading tennis journalists and the highly-respected tennis correspondent for Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger and Sonntags-Zeitung. A sports writer since 1981, Stauffer worked for the Swiss newspapers Blick and Sport, before joining Tages-Anzeiger in 1993. After first writing about Federer in 1996, Stauffer has traveled the world covering Federer and his many triumphs.
“When I first saw Roger Federer play tennis when he was a 15-year-old, I didn’t think that I would even write his name in my newspaper, let alone a book about him,” said Stauffer, who opens the book with his “Encounter with a 15-year-old” chapter when on Sept. 11, 1996, he first came upon Federer at the World Youth Cup tennis event in Zurich. “I am very happy I wrote this book, since a lot of readers told me that they find it very entertaining and educational about Roger and his career.”