An enjoyable and fun excursion for friends

With Federer’s focus understandably more concentrated on the singles competition, the 33-year-old could afford an enjoyable, fun and relaxing excursion in the pressure-free pairs contest.



By Alex Leach - Senior Reporter

Published: Thu 26 Feb 2015, 12:33 AM

Last updated: Thu 25 Jun 2015, 10:45 PM

Dubai — Swiss legend Roger Federer teamed up with compatriot Michael Lammer in the men’s doubles here on Tuesday in recognition of their enduring friendship as much as anything else.

With Federer’s focus understandably more concentrated on the singles competition, the 33-year-old could afford an enjoyable, fun and relaxing excursion in the pressure-free pairs contest, particularly against the second seeds Jean-Julien Rojer, of the Netherlands, and Romanian Horia Tecau.

Federer and Lammer may have spiritedly lost their first-round clash 4-6, 6-7 (12) over on Court One, but the purpose of the exercise revolved more around acknowledging a career-long and important relationship in Federer’s life than achieving a result in the circumstances.

“Michael Lammer is one of my best friends on tour and in my life,” the 17-time Grand Slam champion said.

“He is a guy I’d never played doubles with before, so I really wanted to do that before he retires because he’s not far off and we won the Davis Cup last year.

“I have played doubles with most of the guys – with Marco (Chiudinelli), with Yves (Allegro) and with Stan(islas) Wawrinka – but never with Michael other than back in the Junior Swiss Championships when we were 14, 16 and 18.

“We go way back. That is why we were both excited about it and I’m very thankful for the wildcard from the tournament organisers.”

Federer and Lammer were – of course – previously part of the 2014 Swiss Davis Cup squad that landed the continental crown with a 3-1 victory over finalists France in Lille back in November.

The Davis Cup was one of the few things missing on Federer’s impressive CV and with that objective now achieved, he clearly doesn’t feel as duty bound by the competition as he had been previously.

“It wasn’t a difficult decision,” replied Federer when asked whether or not he’d agonised over pulling out of Switzerland’s first-round tie with Belgium next month.

“I have played for so long and I think – by winning it – I can finally do whatever I please to be quite honest.

“It’s been a big burden for me throughout my career and one of the things that have caused more difficulties in my life than many other things because I always feel there is so much guilt put on you from the ITF (International Tennis Federation), more so than from anybody else.

“I’m happy I was able to finally tick that off and do it all together. I mean I didn’t do it just for that.

“I totally did it for the boys more than for me. I just really wanted Michael, Marco and Stan to get it because they deserve it.

“So this year, for me, was very clear that I was not going to play anymore after this win, but I have to see how things go.

“I’m sorry for the team because it’s pretty much intact from the staff, the captain and everybody. They are all some of my best friends, so that was the tougher part of it.”

alex@khaleejtimes.com


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