Roger Federer is in South Africa to do charity work for his foundation, which meant it was impossible for him to leave the country without being asked about Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee Olympian who is accused of premeditated murder in the shooting death of his girlfriend. Reuters brought up Pistorius in a Q&A by asking Federer about the pressure and attention that comes with being an elite athlete.
Everybody handles it (pressure and stress) differently. My success came gradually, which was helpful, even though I was always considered a great talent, someone who could become world number one. So it wasn’t a huge surprise that I made it to world number one and won Wimbledon, but for me it was.
To handle that stardom, the red carpets, the photo shoots, people all of a sudden recognizing you and following you in everyday life, it’s a bit weird. It’s strange and it can have funny effects on you in terms of do you like it or don’t you like it. Some people run away from it, some people embrace it, I found a good middle ground.
It’s tricky, especially (because) people love fairytale stories; take you down, put you back up, put you down. And obviously the more famous you become, the more great everything seems when things goes well, and the worse they seem when things don’t go so well.
I realized that when I was world number one, I would play an average match and people would say ‘you played so well, it’s unbelievable’. And when I would play incredibly they would say ‘oh my god, we’ve never seen this tennis before in my life’. So it’s always an exaggeration, the whole thing, and that’s what we live in, unfortunately.
Federer was then asked if Pistorius is receiving undue attention because of who he is.
This is now a particular story, it’s very difficult. You can’t compare this one to any other….