Roger Federer's two sets of twins: Is it fair to expect them to form a terrific tennis quartet?
The rumours were agog a few weeks ago about how Roger Federer and his wife could be expecting a second set of twins. It was a trending topic then, though the father-to-be himself – with a display of his quintessential diplomacy – abstained from giving a direct answer.
Now, after the birth of his twin sons Lenny and Leo yesterday, the entire world marvels at the ‘miracle’ – as quoted by the Swiss himself. it once again shifts the attention back to Federer.
It was with maturity and tact that Federer successfully deflected the questions about the impending birth of his babies, not just weeks ago, but all those years ago too, when his wife was expecting for the first time. Maturity and tact – two qualities that showed the man’s ability to balance the fine line separating his professional and personal life.
In the midst of the various comments and congratulatory remarks that invariably talk about how his kids can potentially dominate the sport in the future, there have been no follow-up comments on Federer’s part. He’s by the side of his family, impervious and impassive to all these talks transpiring around him and yet, all the while, sending a substantial message through his silence.
No one can really speculate much about Federer, or about his family. And that is so because all through the years, he’s taken steps to keep things that way. Despite all the attention surrounding him, he has maintained his perspective on his professional and personal priorities, shuffled them as required and kept the intrusiveness at bay.
Federer’s two older daughters are already the cynosure of the world’s eyes, with their future career prospects already laid out and planned by the world. But Federer doesn’t seem to have thought even remotely as far ahead, and has on numerous occasions parried questions about whether tennis interests his daughters or where he thinks their future lies. Not that he doesn’t talk about these things altogether. He does, but there is always a light-hearted tone to his statements.
He may be touted as the greatest player in the sport, but he’s always adopted a politely firm stand about his daughters’ futures. And that is a point of view that is quite sure to continue as his sons grow up.
In the greater scheme of things, for an individual aiming to maximize his family’s equanimity, success is often just a relative subject – relegated to the lower rungs of the priority scale. You can’t really transfer your own success to another, and Federer has shown that he understands this concept perfectly well.
Yes, his fans would all like to see Charlene Riva and Myla Rose, and now Lenny and Leo, become top-notch tennis players and continue their father’s rich legacy. Heck, some people are already fantasizing about a mixed doubles match in the Australian Open final, with Charlene Riva and Lenny in one team, and Myla Rose and Leo in the other! But how fair is it to thrust such thoughts into the consciousness of the Federer family?
It’s not a question of right or wrong. It’s one of those areas that are quite tricky to tread onto, despite the seemingly carefree joyousness of the occasion. And it’s not just restricted to Federer, of course.
The Swiss just forms the present as Novak Djokovic, in a few months’ time (his fiancee Jelena Ristic is pregnant with the couple’s first child), will mark the future. At a time when the virtual world allows a greater deal of closeness with sporting icons and even other prominent, non-sporting icons, it’s hard to imagine that such curiosities will ever stop.
But the likes of Federer and Nole – who’s tight-lipped in his own way – deal with such curiosities in the most unshakeable manner, and have somehow made it possible to tune out such inquisitiveness. Against the backdrop of certain famous parents who don’t shy away from throwing their kids into the limelight, Federer’s attitude of ensuring that his kids get their personal space during their early years – right at the time when they are at their most impressionable – is quite commendable.
He is, in his own way, empowering them to remain kids and not be bogged down by their parents’ achievements and success. And he is also setting a very significant example to the rest of the parenting order – famous or otherwise – about letting kids remain kids, finding their own pathway in time.