Tages-Anzeiger

Roger Federer In Paperback

NEW YORK, June 29, 2010 – – ROGER FEDERER: QUEST FOR PERFECTION, the updated and re-released book that chronicles the incredible tennis career of Roger Federer, has been officially re-released in paperback by publisher New Chapter Press.

ROGER FEDERER: QUEST FOR PERFECTION ($19.95, New Chapter Press, www.NewChapterMedia.com) was written by Rene Stauffer, the esteemed Swiss tennis journalist who has covered Federer since the budding tennis champion was a 15-year-old. The book chronicles Federer’s life as a tempermental junior player, his early struggles on the ATP Tour, his break-out win at Wimbledon in 2003 through his record-breaking 15th major singles title at Wimbledon in 2009. The book also focuses on his values, how he has been marketed, his relationship with the media as well as his numerous charitable pursuits.

Federer made his statement for being considered as the greatest tennis player of all-time in 2009 when he defeated Andy Roddick 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 to win his sixth Wimbledon singles title and capture his 15th major singles title, surpassing the all-time men’s record of 14 set by Pete Sampras. Four weeks earlier, Federer defeated Robin Soderling 6-1, 7-6 (1), 6-4 to win the French Open, moving him into exclusive company as only the sixth man to complete a “Career Grand Slam” – winning all four major tournaments over a career. Federer’s major trophy mantle, that now numbers 16, currently includes the 2009 French Open title, six Wimbledon titles (2003-2007, 2009), five U.S. Open titles (2004-2008) and four Australian Open titles (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010).

Stauffer is one of the world’s leading tennis journalists and the highly-respected tennis correspondent for Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger and Sonntags-Zeitung. A sports writer since 1981, Stauffer worked for the Swiss newspapers Blick and Sport, before joining Tages-Anzeiger in 1993. After first writing about Federer in 1996, Stauffer has traveled the world covering Federer and his many triumphs.

New Chapter Press is also the publisher of “The Bud Collins History of Tennis” by Bud Collins, “The Education of a Tennis Player” by Rod Laver with Bud Collins, “Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games” by Tom and Jerry Caraccioli, “Acing Depression: A Tennis Champion’s Toughest Match” by Cliff Richey and Hilaire Richey Kallendorf, “Jan Kodes: A Journey To Glory From Behind The Iron Curtain” by Jan Kodes, “The Lennon Prophecy” by Joe Niezgoda, “Bone Appetit, Gourmet Cooking For Your Dog” by Susan Anson, “The Rules of Neighborhood Poker According to Hoyle” by Stewart Wolpin, “People’s Choice Cancun – Travel Survey Guidebook” by Eric Rabinowitz and “Weekend Warriors: The Men of Professional Lacrosse” by Jack McDermott, among others. Founded in 1987, New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books and part of the Independent Publishers Group. More information can be found at www.NewChapterMedia.com.

Roger Federer as a 15-year-old

The following is the Prologue for the book “THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION” ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.rogerfedererbook.com) written by Swiss tennis journalist Rene Stauffer, which documents Stauffer’s “Encounter with a 15-year-old” who would go on to become who many consider the greatest tennis player of all-time. THE ROGER FEDERER STORY, QUEST FOR PERFECTION makes for an ideal gift for the Holidays. To order the book, go to www.tennistomes.com.

It was September 11, 1996. I was on assignment for the Tages-Anzeiger and was supposed to write a story about the World Youth Cup, a sort of Davis Cup for juniors that was being played in Zurich, the location of our editorial office. I was skeptical. A story about a team tournament involving obscure 15 and 16-year-old tennis players-who would be interested in that? I viewed this assignment as a tiresome task, thanks to the Swiss Tennis Federation since they had charitably taken on the tournament for its 100-year anniversary. No, this certainly would not be an interesting assignment.

On this day, I met Roger Federer for the first time. He played on a far away court surrounded by wire mesh at a tennis and recreation facility called Guggach. Officials from the Swiss Tennis Federation told me that Federer was a pretty good player and that there was little to criticize except that he was sometimes very temperamental. He just turned 15 and was actually too young for this tournament, but his credentials were impressive-he had already won five Swiss national junior championship titles, was the best Swiss player in the 16-and-under age bracket and was already ranked No. 88 nationally.

On this day, he played against an Italian named Nohuel Fracassi, who since this encounter with Federer, I never heard from again. Fracassi was more than a year older, bigger and stronger than Federer and he had already won the first set when I arrived. The mood was reminiscent of an insignificant club tournament. There were three or four spectators, a referee and no ball boys. The players fetched the balls themselves. However, I was instantly fascinated by Federer’s elegant style. I had already seen some players come and go in my fifteen years as a tennis journalist but it appeared to me that an extraordinary talent was coming of age here in front of me. He effortlessly put spins on balls so that the Italian-even on this slow clay court-would often just watch the ball fly past him for winners. With hardly a sound, he stroked winning shots from his black racquet, moved fast and gracefully. His strokes were harmonious and technically brilliant.

His tactics were also quite unusual. There were no similarities to the safe and consistent “Swedish School” of baseline tennis that was very common back then and usually resulted in promised success on clay courts. Federer would have nothing of that. He looked to end points quickly at every opportunity. He appeared to have mastered every stroke, which was quite unusual for juniors in his age group. He dominated with his serve and his forehand, but his powerful one-handed backhand and the occasional volley also looked like something taken from a tennis textbook.

Roger Federer was a diamond in the rough, no doubt. I was astonished and wondered why nobody had yet seen him or written about him. Was it perhaps because the media had so often prematurely written in superlatives about talented young players only to discover later that they did not measure up to the task of international tennis? Not every Swiss tennis player could be a new Heinz Günthardt, Jakob Hlasek or a Marc Rosset, perhaps the three best Swiss men’s players ever. Perhaps because hardly anybody was scouting for new talent in Switzerland since our little country was already over-proportionately well-represented in professional tennis with Rosset, the 1992 Olympic champion, and the up-and-coming 15-year-old Martina Hingis, already a Wimbledon doubles champion and a semifinalist in singles at the US Open.

But perhaps the reason was also that Federer’s athletic maturity stood in stark contrast to his behavior. He was a hot-head. On this September afternoon, his temper exploded even from the smallest mistakes. On several occasions, he threw his racquet across the court in anger and disgust. He constantly berated himself. “Duubel!” or “Idiot!” he exclaimed when one of his balls narrowly missed the line. He sometimes even criticized himself aloud when he actually won points but was dissatisfied with his stroke.

He didn’t seem to notice what was going on around him. It was only him, the ball, the racquet-and his fuming temper-nothing else. Being so high-strung, he had to fight more with himself than with his opponent across the net this day. This dual struggle pushed him to the limit and I assumed he would lose despite his technical superiority. I was wrong. Federer won the match 3-6, 6-3, 6-1.

I found out later that Federer already won a hard-fought, three-set match the day before against a tenacious young Australian player by the name of Lleyton Hewitt, with Federer fighting off a match point to win by a 4-6, 7-6, 6-4 margin. This Federer-Hewitt match occurred in front of a crowd of 30 people who purchased tickets for the day-plus the four people who bought a tournament series ticket for all sessions. Nobody could have known that these two players would become two of the greatest players-both earning the No. 1 ranking and going on to compete on the greatest stages of the sport in packed

stadiums and in front of millions of television viewers around the world.

I wanted to know more about Federer and asked him for an interview. He surprised me once again as he sat across from me at a wooden table in the gym locker room. I feared that the young man would be reserved and taciturn in the presence of an unfamiliar reporter from a national newspaper and he would hardly be able to say anything useful or quotable. But this was not the case. Federer spoke flowingly and confidently with a mischievous smile. He explained that his idol was Pete Sampras and that he had been training for a year at the Swiss National Tennis Center at Ecublens on Lake Geneva. He

also said that he probably was among the 30 or 40 best in his age class in the world and that he wanted to become a top professional but still had to improve his game-and his attitude.

“I know that I can’t always complain and shout because that hurts me and makes me play worse,” he said. “I hardly forgive myself on any mistakes although they’re normal.” He looked in the distance and said almost to himself-“One should just be able to play a perfect game.”

Playing a perfect game-that’s what motivated him. He didn’t want to just defeat opponents and win trophies, even if he liked the idea of becoming rich and famous or both, as he admitted. For him, instinctively, the journey was the reward and the journey involved hitting and placing balls with his racquet as perfectly as possible. He seemed to be obsessed with this, which would explain why he could become frustrated even after winning points. He didn’t want to dominate his opponent in this rectangle with the net that fascinated him-he wanted to dominate the ball that he both hated and loved.

Federer had great expectations-too many at that time that he would have been able to achieve them. His emotions carried him away in this conflict between expectations and reality. He seemed to sense his great potential and that he was capable of doing great things-but he was not yet able to transform his talents into reality.

His unusual attitude towards perfection had a positive side effect in that he did not consider his opponents as rivals who wanted to rob the butter from his bread, as the sometimes reclusive Jimmy Connors used to say. His opponents were more companions on a common path. This attitude made him a popular and well-liked person in the locker room. He was social and someone you could joke around with. For Federer, tennis was not an individual sport with opponents who needed to be intimidated, but a common leisure activity with like-minded colleagues who, as part of a big team, were pursuing the same goal.

He became terribly annoyed at his own mistakes but he had the capacity to question things, to observe things from a distance and to put them in the correct perspective after his emotions had abated. He was also willing to admit weaknesses. “I don’t like to train and I also always play badly in training,” he casually observed during this interview. “I’m twice as good in the matches.”

This sentence surprised me as well. While many players choked under pressure, he apparently maintained a winning mentality. This strength that abounded in the most important matches and game situations really drove many opponents to distraction and enabled Federer to escape from apparently hopeless situations. It also helped Federer establish one of the most unbelievable records in sports history-24 consecutive victories in professional singles finals between July of 2003 and November of 2005-double the record held by John McEnroe and Björn Borg.

Federer’s triumphs at this World Youth Cup were in vain. The Swiss team, lacking a strong second singles player and an experienced doubles team, finished the tournament in defeat in 15th place. Roger Federer won but the Swiss lost-a scenario that was to repeat itself many times over years later at the actual Davis Cup. The hot-head nonetheless received a compliment from the coach of the Australian team at the World Youth Cup, Darren Cahill, the former US Open semifinalist, who was in charge of Lleyton Hewitt at the time. “He’s got everything he needs to succeed on tour later,” said Cahill.

I was able to return to the office with enough material for a nice story. It was to be my first about Roger Federer-but it would not be the last. The story’s title was “One Should Be Able To Play A Perfect Game.”

Roger Federer Book Author Rene Stauffer Comments on Federer’s US Open Victory

NEW YORK, N.Y., September 10, 2008 – The following is a question and answer session with Rene Stauffer, the author of the book The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection ($24.95, New Chapter Press, www.rogerfedererbook.com), on Roger Federer’s victory at the 2008 US Open. Playing on the 39th anniversary of Rod Laver winning his second Grand Slam and on the sixth anniversary of Pete Sampras’ fifth US Open title and his 14th and final major title, Federer continued his assault on tennis history by winning the US Open for a fifth straight year, defeating Andy Murray of Britain 6-2, 7-5, 6-2 in Monday’s men’s singles final. While winning his 13th major singles title, Federer becomes the first man to win five straight U.S. men’s singles titles since American Bill Tilden won six straight titles from 1920 to 1925. Federer is now just one major singles title shy of tying Pete Sampras for the most major men’s singles titles with 14.

QUESTION: With this victory, can you say that “Roger is back?”

RENE STAUFFER: Absolutely, although he was never really gone. A lot of fans and media people tend to over react and read too much into single tournaments or results. He had spoiled everybody by winning so many major tournaments over the last four years – and that’s why the reactions (to his losses at major tournaments) this year were so strong. But Roger’s career is defined by Grand Slam tournaments more than ever, and he continued his run this year. He stands at 18 Grand Slam tournament semifinals in a row and was part of 13 of the last 14 major finals – even though he had a case of mono in early 2008, which shattered his whole preparation and made what was already a tough year with the Olympics even more difficult.

QUESTION: Does Roger feed off of a lot of the talk of people writing him off, saying that he is no longer the top man in tennis?

RENE STAUFFER: Maybe a little more than he is ready to acknowledge. It was a bitter learning experience for him this year to realize how fast people tend to switch opinions, how changeable sport fans can be, how little respect he got from some media and certain people. But he is too proud to let this bother him, and he tried with success to stay positive and in the best possible frame of mind to give himself more chances. He really showed his mental strength in the last few months.

QUESTION: Just how rattled was Roger after losing at Wimbledon and losing his No. 1 ranking and how satisfying is this win at the US Open?

RENE STAUFFER: Since he realized that the Wimbledon final made tennis history and lifted tennis to a new popularity, he digested the defeat much better than expected. Right after the final, he had said in interviews with the Swiss press that he was devastated and that it could not get any worse than that. However, he realized that Rafael Nadal deserved the No. 1 ranking much more, but Roger gave the right answers, since in his first tournament as No. 2, he won his fifth U.S. Open.

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QUESTION: How important was winning the Olympic doubles gold medal for his confidence coming into the US Open?

RENE STAUFFER: That was the key to this title. The gold medal gave him back the inspiration and motivation, the confidence and the joy of playing tennis. He said after beating Murray that winning the doubles in Beijing put him on a cloud and that he refused to come down in New York.

QUESTION: Roger now has 13 major men’s singles titles and is alone in second place all-time – one shy of Pete Sampras’s record of 14. Do you think Roger will break Sampras’ record and if so, where will he do it?

RENE STAUFFER: I am convinced that he will break it. I would not be surprised if it happened 2009, but would not be worried for him if not. As Sampras said, every year with a Grand Slam tournament title is a good year. And Roger has four chances every year, so the odds are looking good, since he only turned 27. When Pete won his 13th major title, he was almost 29.

Stauffer is an esteemed Swiss tennis journalist who has covered Federer since the budding tennis champion was a 15-year-old. The Roger Federer Story, Quest for Perfection chronicles Federer’s life as tempermental junior player, through his early struggles on the ATP Tour and his break-through win at Wimbledon in 2003 and through all of his major tournament titles. The book also focuses on his values, how he has been marketed, his relationship with the media as well as his numerous charitable pursuits.

Published by New Chapter Press, the book has met with many positive reviews from the international media. The Toronto Globe and Mail called the book “excellent” while Britain’s Daily Telegraph called it “an intimate and insightful portrait.” Wrote Tennis.com of the book; “It’s accessible and sketches out his career development very logically. At the same time, it throws in enough about his personality and the rest of his life to flesh out the tale without turning it into it a flabby puff-piece.”

The Roger Federer Story is not an authorized book by the Federer family, but has been well-received by his inner circle. The five-time Wimbledon champ’s mother, Lynette Federer, uses the book as an encyclopedia on her son’s career. “It’s useful for me, because I often am asked about things and I don’t know for sure without checking,” she told Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger. “Now, I will always know where I can look them up.”

Stauffer is one of the world’s leading tennis journalists and the highly-respected tennis correspondent for Zurich’s Tages-Anzeiger and Sonntags-Zeitung. A sports writer since 1981, Stauffer worked for the Swiss newspapers Blick and Sport, before joining Tages-Anzeiger in 1993. After first writing about Federer in 1996, Stauffer has traveled the world covering Federer and his many triumphs.

“When I first saw Roger Federer play tennis when he was a 15-year-old, I didn’t think that I would even write his name in my newspaper, let alone a book about him,” said Stauffer, who opens the book with his “Encounter with a 15-year-old” chapter when on Sept. 11, 1996, he first came upon Federer at the World Youth Cup tennis event in Zurich. “I am very happy I wrote this book, since a lot of readers told me that they find it very entertaining and educational about Roger and his career.”

New Chapter Press (www.newchapterpressmedia.com) is also the publisher of The Bud Collins History of Tennis by Bud Collins and Boycott: Stolen Dreams of the 1980 Moscow Olympic Games by Tom Caraccioli and Jerry Caraccioli. New Chapter Press is an independent publisher of books founded in 1987.