20-time Major winner Roger Federer is one of the greatest and most popular athletes of all time. But it's not just his achievements that have brought him fame; the Swiss' charming, clean image coupled with his outgoing personality have also won the hearts of millions of fans around the globe.
Many people have come to develop great respect for Roger Federer, for overcoming his histrionics-filled youth to become tennis' most celebrated champion. While the sport and its viewership owe a great deal to Federer, the Swiss' colleagues also appreciate the 39-year-old's stature and contributions.
No tennis player has quite had the aura that Roger Federer is cloaked in, and Naomi Osaka agrees with that too. A fan of the Fed Express by her own admission, the Japanese rising star recently spoke about idolizing Federer as a teen and watching the Swiss practice with awe.
In an interview with Tennis Now, Naomi Osaka revealed that as a child she ran to the court where Roger Federer was practicing. It's fair to say Osaka has come unbelievably far since then; she even squared off against the Swiss legend at the 2018 Hopman Cup.
Found out Roger Federer was practicing and wanted to see his demeanor and stuff: Naomi Osaka
Having grown up in Florida as a young phenom in her age category, Osaka mentioned how Roger Federer's cool disposition has inspired her outlook towards the game.
"I used to live in Florida, so I went to the Miami Open... so it was just really cool to walk around and run to Roger Federer's practice court when everyone found out that he was practicing just see his demeanor and stuff," Osaka said after her Round-of-32 victory over Karolina Muchova.
In addition to Federer, Naomi Osaka also described herself as a Rafael Nadal fan during the interview. She also went on to talk about how she tries to take inspiration from the players who show a positive attitude on the court rather than a negative one.
"I found myself watching some players that were really negative and thinking to myself, like, wow, I don't think I would ever root for them. For me, that's how I try to outwardly be more positive," Osaka added.
I almost caused a catastrophic injury to Roger Federer: Naomi Osaka
Naomi Osaka got the golden opportunity to share the same court with Roger Federer in a match at the 2018 Hopman Cup. The 22-year-old teamed up with Yuichi Sugita to take on Federer and Belinda Bencic in a mixed doubles match.
The Swiss pair eventually won by the score of 2-4, 4-1, 4-3(1), but Naomi Osaka wouldn't have been too hung up on the result. She had, after all, achieved her dream of playing with her idol.
Besides having sparred against Roger Federer, Osaka also had a funny anecdote to share from that edition of the Hopman Cup. The Japanese described how she nearly collided with the Swiss after racing through the hallway for her match in haste.
"There wasn't a sign that said no running in the halls," Osaka said. "I was kind of late to my match, so, yeah, I almost caused, like, a catastrophic injury to a sports legend. Oopsy. It was fine, though."Published 26 Aug 2020, 16:34 IST