‘We don’t know how to treat Roger Federer’, says Swiss abbot

Roger Federer is idolized in every corner of the world, having been able to combine his triumphs on the tennis court with an elegance that has few equals in modern sport. His countless fans had to wait over a year to see the Swiss champion back on the pitch, forced into the pits by a double right knee operation in 2020. After missing the Australian Open for the first time in the last 23 editions, the former number 1 ATP made his return to Doha a few weeks ago, but his run came to a halt in the quarterfinals against Nikoloz Basilashvili (also wasting a match point). The 20-time Grand Slam champion has Wimbledon as his main goal, not forgetting the dream of a gold medal in singles at the Tokyo Olympics this summer. Meanwhile, Dave Seminara, a former diplomat and huge fan of the King, has written a book entitled ‘Footsteps of Federer: A Fan’s Pilgrimage Across 7 Swiss Cantons in 10 Acts’. Within the work, Seminara recounted his journey to the places that characterized the childhood of the Master of Basel. In an excerpt published in the New York Times, Dave illustrated his meeting with Urban Federer, the abbot who baptized the four children of the Swiss champion.

Swiss abbot talks about Roger Federer

“Roger Federer would be equivalent to something like the royal family in the UK,” Urban Federer said. “But here in Switzerland, we’ve never had a super-famous star, so we don’t know how to treat him because we don’t revere people here.” According to Dave Seminara, Urban Federer earlier had trouble getting people to spell and pronounce the name ‘Federer’. But such issues are history now, since Roger Federer’s name is recognized all over the world today. “You know, before Roger became famous, I always used to have to spell my name,” Urban Federer told Seminara. “But now everyone knows the name Federer. I hope Djokovic doesn’t win any more titles,” the Abbot told Seminara. “I don’t want him to catch Roger.” During his visit to Switzerland, Dave Seminara also met Daniel Altermatt – a Swiss councilperson from Munchenstein which was Roger Federer’s childhood hometown in Basel. “We have a local regulation prohibiting us from naming anything after anyone who is still alive,” Altermatt explained to Seminara. “So if we want to name something after Roger, we’d have to kill him first.” According to Seminara, a certain segment of the extensive Federer family was cast out in 1848. They were blamed by the rest of the Federer clan for a fire that ravaged Berneck that year.

 

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