Roger Federer returns to his home event of Basel this week for a 16th time. As he bids for a 7th time and a 10th straight final there.
Before his first rounder Tuesday against Mikhail Kukushkin, Federer reflected on his history at the tournament.
“I grew up here. I played soccer just behind the stadium,” Federer said. “I came here on my bike as a ball boy. It feels like it was yesterday. This is what makes the tournament so special.
“Ten years ago I would have only hoped to be still able to play at 34, yet here I am. I’m going through a really exciting phase of my career, of my life. I can only be happy.”
Federer is 56-9 in Basel where he’ll be the top seed for an eighth time. Last year he beat David Goffin in the final.
In his first match at the event he lost to Andre Agassi in 1998.
“[At first], let’s say winning maybe five or six games in the first round was going to be a good result,” said Federer. “Then it was maybe if you win a set, it would be great. Winning a round would be great. Next thing you know, I was defending titles. It would be nice [to do that] again. That’s changed obviously a lot in the approach and with experience, I’m less nervous and less anxious.
“I still enjoy it as much as ever. It’s true that the routines now are easier. I know how to handle ticketing. I know how to handle having friends here and family. In the beginning there was just so much going on that it was kind of crazy, but in a good way. I remember I was always very nervous on court because I always wanted to do so well here.
Stan Wawrinka and Rafael Nadal are also in the draw.
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