In a new cover feature for the Wall Street Journal, Roger Federer chats with writer Jason Gay about myriad subjects.
The one that thrilled headline-bait professionals revolved around his discussion of who is the Greatest of All Time (GOAT) in tennis. Serena Williams' name gets drummed up promptly, and Federer notes that she has a place at or near the top, as he himself does.
"[Serena] is all the way up there," Federer says. "I'm probably up there with somebody, somehow. Maybe there's a group, a best of five – and if you're in that group, you should be pleased and happy. Tennis is a funky sport when it comes to that stuff."
"I'm in full admiration of Serena," he adds, "and Venus, too, by the way."
Serena responded to his comments soon after.
“He’s done amazing things in his career - I have the utmost respect for him," Serena told the Wall Street Journal. "He’s a wonderful athlete, a great guy. I love what he’s doing [with his foundation] in Africa too. That was really impressive to me."
She would win her first Grand Slam match as a new mother on Tuesday over Kristyna Pliskova at Roland Garros.
Elsewhere in the WSJ profile, Federer addresses his one-bittersweet-day retirement ("I've long given up that it needs to end in a fairy tale") and whether his offspring with Mirka Federer, two sets of twins, play tennis ("It's one of my mini-requirements with Mirka. Don't get me wrong, I don't want them to be professionals players, but I would like them to play recreationally.").
Perhaps the least believable thing about the WSJ magazine feature is that Federer will ever become a talking head, one given to prattling "on TV, ruffling phenoms with his cranky-old-man critiques" (writer Gay's words). Federer offers more faux-humble words on that: "I don't know if people would listen to me."
TV-booth commentating doesn't become Fed, whether or not he does go down as the GOAT. Time will tell.
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