epa03582481 Swiss player Roger Federer returns the ball to Grega Zemlja from Slovakija in the first round of the ABN Amro ATP Tennis tournament in Rotterdam, Netherlands, 13 February 2013. Federer won the match 6-3, 6-1. EPA/KOEN SUYK |
Roger Federer, as everyone knows, is an icon in tennis who can demand pretty much anything and usually get his wishes met. But now the Swiss is trying to extend his sphere of influence into International Olympic Committee circles and is urging another racket sport gets a place at the Games.
Federer is known to enjoy the occasional game of squash as sheer relaxation. And although the sport has twice recently been denied Olympic status by the IOC, before the London Games of 2012 and going forward to Rio de Janeiro in 2016, he is determined to back the campaign.
The host city for the 2020 Games will not be announced until September with the short list currently being Tokyo, Madrid and Istanbul. Federer has held meetings with Nicol David, Malaysia’s undisputed women’s world squash no.1 since 2006 and he’s now a committed supporter.
“I think squash is a wonderful sport and it’s unfortunate some sports don’t get the opportunity to be in the Olympics,” said Federer.
“I think squash would deserve it. They run a great tour and they have great players and characters. I’d personally be very happy for them.”
Federer has some pedigree at squash. I used to play it a lot when I was younger,” Federer said. “It was I used to play it a lot when I was younger every Sunday with my dad. I started with a wooden racquet like I did in tennis. I’ve always been a big fan of the sport.”
The mutual admiration between Federer and David is clearly immense but she was insistent she doesn’t play tennis. “I’m a tennis fan but not a player,” admitted the Malaysian. “I follow Roger’s progress and he definitely brings the sport up to another level.”
Karate, rollersports, wakeboarding, climbing, wrestling and a joint bid by baseball and softball are the other candidates for the one open spot for the 2020 Games.
“I feel more laid back today than I ever have been," Roger Federer said upon his arrival at this week's Rogers Cup. "I don’t have to prove anything to anybody. For me, it’s about, ‘How do I feel in practice?’ ‘What’s my motivation?’ I can analyze [things] much more clearly than I ever have.
The good news delivered by the United States contingent in the Rogers Cup first round was turned upside down on Wednesday. Americans compiled a 4-1 record heading into the last 32 of this Masters 1000 event, but all four winners went down in their second matches. It was not, however, due to a lack of effort.
As we write, there is a rain delay in Montreal, and it isn't the first of the day. It looks as if the showers won't last long, but the schedule is pretty badly bollixed. We're going to send this now and possibly send another edition later.