Cape Town - Roger Federer has
spoken out against the idea that to be a successful athlete you have be
prepared to bully and step over people.
Having won a record 20 Grand Slam titles and spent
a record 310 weeks at the top of the world rankings, many rate Federer as the
greatest tennis players of all time.
The 37-year-old, though, is not only highly rated
for his tennis, but also for the way he conducts himself on and off the court
and he explained during an interview with Gulf News that you can reach the top
without “stepping over people”.
"Look, it came to me naturally, and it was
also a bit of upbringing," he said.
"There is no need to step over people or bully
others… make them feel bad or small.
"People often say you have to be hard and
tough to win, but I feel that’s not me. I have been told in the past that you
are too nice to be successful, but I think I have been able to do both by being
respectful to people.
He added: "I have had also to take tough
decisions along the road, but in a nice way. You also have to remember why you
are in such a privileged position, I can’t thank enough my fans, my team, the
tournament officials — so many of them have touched my life along the
At the age of 37 he doesn’t have much left to
prove, but years of experience has taught him he needs to entertain tennis
"I see myself primarily as a tennis player but
then the magnitude of whole thing … when you show up somewhere, you see the
queues for tickets and all the love and affection of the fans," he said.
"It makes you realise that maybe you are more
than a tennis player — an entertainer or an ambassador of the game if you like.
I do what I can to inspire people by shaking hands at a meet-and-greet or by
saying something in an interview.
"I want people to think that this Roger
Federer gives the crowd 100 percent and not do anything half-hearted, so that
they can come back to a tennis arena again."