(Reuters) – The Swiss soccer team’s Mr Motivator, also known as Roger Federer, is hoping Alejandro Falla does not turn out to be an awkward first round opponent at Wimbledon on Monday.
In line with Wimbledon tradition, the champion will begin his pursuit of a record-equaling seventh men’s crown at 1400 local time but that means he will have to miss some or all of Switzerland’s World Cup match against Chile.
Federer was recently invited to give the Swiss team a pep talk and despite his vested interest in what happens on the pitch in South Africa, on Monday he will be totally focused on the lush green lawns of Wimbledon.
“You think I’ll just like leave the court at 3:00?” Federer told reporters on Sunday before hotfooting it to Court Four for a relaxed practice session in black shorts and grey T-shirt.
“That’s not going to happen quite yet,” added the top seed, who became a father to twin daughters just a few weeks after winning a record 15th grand slam in London last July.
“In the past that I’ve had to play matches during important things in my life. I went on court last year many times thinking that (my wife) Mirka was going to give birth to my children.
“That was a bit more crazy than Switzerland playing at 3 pm. (But) I still have a chance to maybe go see a little bit (of the football match).”
The 28-year-old is arguably the most famous sports person to emerge out of Switzerland and after bewitching rivals for almost a decade — winning 16 majors and countless records in the process — Swiss coach Ottmar Hitzfeld, wanted Federer to sprinkle some of his magic over the soccer squad.
The ploy appeared to work as Switzerland shocked European champions Spain on Wednesday.
“Hitzfeld called me and said if I could just come in and meet the team, inspire them a bit, answer questions on how I handle the pressure,” explained Federer.
“I came in (and) I don’t think they’ve lost since. If it’s one percent (credit) they give to me, that’s great. I’m happy it worked.”
Federer enjoys an intense rivalry on court with Mallorcan world number one Rafael Nadal, who had predicted an easy win for Spain in the Group H match, but opted not rub in the result when the duo briefly exchanged pleasantries in a Wimbledon corridor.
“This was a huge match. I watched it, of course. I didn’t get in touch with Rafa because I’m not the type of person who rubs it in,” said Federer.
“We know the bad times can come by very quickly. But obviously after a match like this, you’re allowed also to start dreaming that you could go much further in the competition.”
(Editing by Justin Palmer)