Federer plays for dream; mum on money (Australian Open diary)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

MELBOURNE - With $62 million dollars and counting - and that’s only official prize money - Roger Federer is regularly breaking new ground on the economic side of tennis.

But like any well-off and discreet Swiss, the biggest all-time earner in the sport is giving little away about his obviously robust financial health.

“We put it in the banks, that’s what we do. And we sit on top of it. Then we’ll see later on what we do with it,” said the four-time Australian Open champion as he deflected a cheeky post-match query from a European blogger. “Yeah, I’m not going to tell you, no, sorry.”

While it’s hard to deny that Federer has made more from the game than could rightfully be imagined, the 16-time Grand Slam champion is also trying constantly to give something back.

In the last month he’s played in three charity matches, including a pair in Europe with Rafael Nadal and the flood relief expo which proceeded the start of the major. He is also active in his personal charity foundation.

“I never expected myself to earn so much money,” Federer admitted. “This is where I always thank the older generation for all their hard work where prize money wasn’t so high yet.

“But they were doing it basically for the love of the game because that’s what it was. I like the history of the game, and this is why also I respect all the legends so much.

“I didn’t start playing tennis to make a living out of it. It was just more living a dream, trying, because you knew, OK, you could make a bit of money. Maybe that could help you travel, and then you go from there.

“I hope that in 20 years, 50 years it’s going to be even more incredible, the game of tennis. I know how lucky I have become. That’s why for me it’s absolutely normal to give back with my foundation, and wherever I can help. I try to do my best.”


Injured Williams vows to return fully fit

Venus Williams has vowed to return to the courts fully fit after being forced to quit the Australian Open third round after just six minutes with an abdominal muscle problem which she aggravated two days earlier.

The American played one game against German Andrea Petkovic before being unable to continue as she screamed in pain while stretching for a wide return.

It was the fourth time in the post-1968 Open era that no American woman had reached a Grand Slam fourth round. The first two occurred in 1970 and 1973 when none made the trip to Australia. The latest was at Roland Garros in 2008.

“The last 48 hours I did as much pain management and recovery that I could,” said Williams, the 30-year-old fourth seed. “I just hit some balls standing still. A lot of times when you play, you get this adrenaline that blocks pain. But I just didn’t get enough of that today.”

Williams, who played only nine events in 2010 and had not competed since the US Open, was obviously disappointed by her fate. “This is just not how I envisioned my Australian Open being.

“I’ve never had to retire from a Grand Slam especially after working so hard to pull out the match the other day. I was just hoping for some magic that I could recover. But I have peace of mind that I really gave more than my best to be out there.”

will not be displayed