Federer’s pending farewell, Dominic Stricker’s Swiss dream: “It would’ve been great to share in our home country”

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As a child, Roger Federer posters adorned his bedroom walls. As an adult, Swiss Dominic Stricker inevitably imagined the scenario that would bring him together on the court with his idol in his retirement from tennis. That farewell that did not take place in Basel and that was anticipated at the Laver Cup in London: “I imagined how incredible it would have been to share with him at our home tournament.”

Being a young, Swiss tennis player with a bright future.  As bright as the weight of history? Stricker, lives with the legacy of Federer and company. An unavoidable heritage.

Inspirational? In a “big” way, he says, though he avoids taking on the pressure of being Federer’s heir.

And the yearning for Federer to be his coach someday? Calm down. For now the 20-time Grand Slam champion enjoys the Met Gala, involves his family in his foundation’s activities in Africa and promotes the beauties of the Swiss Alps.

“I don’t know his plans for the future. Roger has already been a big impact on my career. Just having grown up watching many of his matches. More than a great player, he is a great person,” he told CLAY in an interview at the Diriyah Cup in Riyadh.

The left-hander is 20 years old. A tennis player with an aggressive game who likes to take the net (clearly influenced by Federer), but who stays at the back of the court during rallies “if necessary”, like Rafael Nadal. The lefty he has always looked up to, and who would like to challenge in a round of golf.

– Where were you for Federer’s farewell?

– For the Laver Cup I was in the United States. It wasn’t easy. Pretty emotional moment for me and for a lot off people from all around the world.

– Did you stop anything you had to do to be sticked to the TV watching his farewell?

– No, it was a…yeah, I did. It was in the late afternoon of the US, so it was the perfect timing to see some last tennis from Roger after my practice.

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– How much did you cry?

– (laughs) I cried. Yes, I did.

– You were one year old when he won his first Wimbledon, so basically since you have memory, Federer has been at the top of the sport.

What an amazing tennis player, but even a better person. He is so nice, a great guy. What he has done for the sport is unbelievable and I’m just looking up to all of his contribution to tennis.

– No posters of him in your room?

Noo, I don’t have any poster of him (laughs). Well, I did have one when I was young. I think everyone as kids had posters of their idols.

– At some point you said: ‘Ok, I’m a grown-up tennis player now’”.

– (laughs) Yeah, you get into an age that you don’t like anymore to have posters in your room.

– When he announced that he was going to play in Basel, didn’t you dream of being the tennis player who would put an end to his career?

– Maybe, maybe I imagine that kind of stuff. Not really dreaming about retiring him, but thinking about how great would have been to share with him in the tournament of our home country. Being there in case he retires, you know?

– Federer now prefers to spend time with his family, going to the Alps, or to Africa with his foundation instead of being under the sun in a tennis court. But don’t you imagine the idea of him coaching you in the future?

I don’t know. I’m not sure what he is doing in the future, but I think he already had such a big impact on my career. Knowing that I watch a lot of matches of him. You never know what the future brings.

– What kind of conversations have you had with him? Is there one that has left you with a particularly important message?

Yeah, just when we were practicing. We did talk a lot. He told me how to work in my serve. He gave me important tips I put in my game and was important for me to know.

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Dominic Stricker holding the doubles trophy he won in December in Riyadh // SEBASTIAN VARELA

– How do you describe yourself as a tennis player?

– I am an offensive player, good serve, good forehand. I like to take the net, but If I need to, I can also stay in the baseline to rally. I’ve got a pretty good return as well.

– What does Dominic Stricker do well off court?

– I really like to play golf, I like to hang out with my friends, and also travel around the beautiful Switzerland. I’m also watching other sports when I’m at home, like racing, football, skiing or whatever.

– Which tennis player would you like to challenge for an 18-holes matchup.

– I’d pick Rafa. I’ve heard he is really good golfer. Ruud is also playing good golf. Then I don’t know which other tennis players like golf, so to complete the tee maybe we could take Tiger Woods to give us lessons.

– Something else out of sports catches your interest? Politics, arts, economy, cryptocurrency, books?

– Not really.

– Tourism in Switzerland.

Of course, I love to visit different places of my country. I enjoy going to a lake, or trekking around the mountains. It’s great to have that opportunity in Switzerland.

– Which rules from the ATP Next Gen finals would you implement in the other competitions?

– That’s a difficult one. The short sets were interesting, the level of coaching, the stats. I wouldn’t pick one thing that should stay in tennis, it’s just interesting to have a tournament with all this different rules. Maybe they will change it to four (games per set) if they realize in the future six games is boring for the people.

– You are very active in social media.

Yeah, I’m very much on it, but I think it’s something normal for my generation.

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