Fast-rising American youngster Jeffrey John ‘J.J.’ Wolf has taken the ongoing US Open by storm. On his Grand Slam main draw debut, the youngster managed to defeat Guido Pella and Carballes Baena to set up a third-round clash against Daniil Medvedev.
Despite the enormous difference in top-level experience, Wolf is prepared to go toe-to-toe with last year’s finalist and is even ready for a five-setter. And some of that credit goes to none other than Roger Federer himself.
In a recent interview with ATPtour.com, Wolf spoke about a host of topics including his methods of preparing for big matches. He recalled his experience of practicing and interacting with Roger Federer and believes that it has helped him immensely in his journey towards the upper echelons of the sport.
Roger Federer is an extraordinary human being: J.J Wolf
Wolf is not the first upcoming tennis player to talk about idolizing the legendary Swiss star. Several key Next-gen stars like Alexander Zverev, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Matteo Berrettini too have previously acknowledged the great Roger Federer as their idol.
All of them have fond experiences with the Swiss star, be it in on tennis courts or off it, and Wolf is no different.
J.J. Wolf recalled an instance in 2018 when he practiced with Roger Federer during the Western & Southern Open. It was an experience of a lifetime for the youngster, who admitted to being ‘nervous’ initially. However, after their session, Federer sat down and spoke at length with Wolf, and that ‘meant the world’ to the talented American.
"I got to practice with one of my idols,” said Wolf. “I was so nervous, but we hit for an hour or so, and then afterward we sat down and spoke for about 30-40 minutes. It was small talk and advice about anything. That meant the world to me.”
It is often not just the tennis skills of Federer that other players idolize. His larger than life aura, humility and overall persona too are attractive qualities for the young guns. Roger Federer’s ability to remain motivated and work hard at this stage of his career is something that many in the tennis fraternity have long admired and Wolf is no different.
But despite Federer’s enormous success and status, Wolf believes that the Swiss legend is no more than ‘just a regular guy’. Federer’s humble nature also inspired the American and gave him a new-found vigor to work hard to fulfil his dreams of reaching similar levels of influence someday.
“I got to have a normal conversation with a definitely extraordinary human being,” said the American. “It just made me look up to him more. He's just a regular guy who has unbelievable accomplishments. He's so down to earth. It made me want to keep working hard and be someone with influence like him,” he added.Published 05 Sep 2020, 15:05 IST