When we go on vacation, we transform into ‘Vacation Mode’. Through the Gillette Federer Tour in Brazil, we got to witness Roger Federer’s ‘Exhibition Mode’ like never before. As Roger gets ready to play against Delpo in Buenos Aires in a few hours, I thought we could take a quick look back at what we’ve learned about our hero in the past 5 days.
This was no ordinary exhibition. For starters, Roger had never been to South America after turning pro; meaning he had boundless energy for discovering this new land, its customs, culture and people. Second, the tour was not just for Roger alone but included 8 other fellow stars from the ATP and 4 of the top 10 players of the WTA. Third, as if there wasn’t enough hype, the Maestro decided to launch his youtube channel by streaming his exhibition matches live. All in all, it was 5 days filled with fun, Federer style and we fans lapped up every minute! As Roger went about São Paulo, we were able to see Brazil through Roger’s eyes.
The list below is a compilation of some random observations I picked up about our champion and the tour. But before that, a disclaimer: This list was based on the photos I found, articles I read, off-court videos posted by Roger and the three matches that Roger played. I did not see the other matches and as such cannot include them here. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s dive in!
#1 Roger looks awesome in green! Nike please take note!
#2 Roger looks great in the Brazilian football kit! Super tight and we don’t mind!
#3 Roger loves exotic fruits – we also learned that he’s played Pac-Man (if you haven’t already, please see his “Visiting the produce market in Sâo Paulo” for the Pac-Man reference!).
#4 Roger is getting quite good with posting videos on his youtube channel. He posted 7 personal off-court videos showing the fun he was having in Brazil.
#5 Roger loves kids… as in really loves them, no faking. The most emotional and heartfelt of his videos was about the kids clinic and you could tell how much it affected him.
#6 Roger has no problems dancing with mascots – he even tried the moonwalk, a bit of Gangam style (sitting down) and shimmying with a psychedelic Santa Bunny!
#7 Roger likes doing the Mexican Wave!
#8 Roger is dorky yet adorable. I saw a term on twitter that describes this attribute perfectly: Fedorkable!
#9 Roger’s football skills are quite impressive and that includes playing football with a tennis ball too.
#10 Roger is a massive Pelé fan (just like most of the world), but we also learned that Pelé was equally thrilled to meet the Maestro – they exchanged t-shirts! Check out the video clip!
#11 The Swiss DOES indeed sweat. It was so ridiculously hot inside the stadium that even Roger looked thoroughly soaked by the end of each match.
#12 The Maestro seemed surprised with all the whistling during his first shirt change of the exhibition. By the second match he got on board and even played up to the audience by lifting up his shirt!
#13 Roger’s comfort in front of a camera knows no-bounds. He’s just as comfortable shaving in front of reporters on stage, to doing interviews anywhere, whether in the studio, at a kids clinic or in a produce market.
#14 Perhaps it’s safe to say that out of the WTA his favourite player is Maria Sharapova? This photo is provided as ‘compelling’ evidence.
#15 Roger treated the exhibition as just that, an exhibition. He was smiling all the time while thrilling audiences by displaying his huge arsenal of insane, sexy, creative shots that aren’t always safe enough to be tried in an actual match. More importantly, he knew the exhibition was about having fun.
#16 Bellucci on the other hand certainly didn’t understand this concept and played out of his mind to defeat a happy, smiley Federer. At least he’ll be able to tell his children he defeated the great Federer – even though it was in an exhibition.
#17 We had expected Haas to be quite funny with Roger considering how far they go back but Haas was mostly serious as well. Though he did break out some serious dance moves with the mascot.
#18 The match with Jo-Willy was clearly the most fun one out of Federer’s three matches with both putting on quite a show, tennis skills and otherwise.
#19 Tsonga’s butt wiggle, Tsonga presenting a flower to a lady in the audience and hugging the ball boy who scored a point on his behalf were only some of his many highlights!
#20 Federer however took the cake. At one point he was directing traffic so the mascot could leave the arena! The best moment of the exhibition was when Federer handed his racket to the ball boy, cowering at the back of the court and covering his face in fear of Jo’s serves!
#21 Despite this being an exhibition, Federer’s form was on fire! True there were shanks here and there, mostly due to trying to show off a bit, but for the most part, his skills were spot on and deadly. His soft drop shots, including the carved drop shot he used against Murray in the Wimbledon final, were beautiful to watch. The rally between two single-handed backhand veterans, Roger and Tommy, was a complete treat! Roger’s most amazing inside-out forehand was painting the lines and corners and there were tweeners in every match.
#22 And how at 31 years of age, he jumps as high as he does to smash his overheads is beyond me. It shows yet again that while he is lauded for his talent and creativity, he is also one supreme athlete; he just makes it LOOK easy. Without the pressure of winning or losing, Roger simply put on a show… and we watched breathlessly, marveling at the beauty, grace and athleticism of each shot that only the Maestro can produce.
#23 Last but not the least, Roger has fans all over the world! His fans are dedicated and passionate and this banner captures the feelings of all of Roger’s fans everywhere. Looking forward to Buenos Aires Roger! Allez!