Roger Federer is one of the most respected people on the planet, and is regarded by many to be greatest tennis player of all time. But what else apart from his racquet skills adds to this popularity?
One such quality the Swiss man possesses is his ability to communicate fluently in a variety of languages.
Federer was brought up in the Swiss town of Basel, which lies close to the borders of both Germany and France.
His mother, Lynnette, is South African, and Roger grew up speaking a mixture of Swiss German, German and English.
At age 14, Federer relocated to the Swiss national tennis academy in Ecublens, close to Lausanne in the southwestern French-speaking area of the country.
He spoke little French on his arrival, felt totally isolated and was labeled the "Swiss German."
However, he stuck the academy out for three years before moving to Biel, back near his hometown of Basel.
Today, Federer moves as easily from speaking German to English or French, as he does from hitting a forehand to a backhand or volley.
This is both a blessing and a curse for the man, but an absolute pleasure for those who get to interview him.
When you’re as prolific a champion as Roger Federer, you have a lot of media commitments.
He’s won 17 Grand Slams and 75 ATP tournaments overall.
Before, during and after each event, the world No. 1 is expected to give his opinion on a variety of subjects.
Not only does Federer talk intelligently, but he’s able to respond to journalists in perfect English, German and French.
I was fortunate to experience this firsthand at the 2011 Monte Carlo Masters, for which I received a press pass.
After some 20 minutes receiving questioning from the English press, I stuck around and listened to Roger talk to the French at his pre-tournament conference.
The ability to engage people in their native tongue is something that Roger clearly enjoys.
However, it does massively increase the time he devotes to press interviews.
Little wonder he’s so popular with press and fans around the world.
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