Australia’s loss a decade and a half ago was Switzerland’s gain when the family of then 12-year-old Roger Federer turned down the chance to emigrate Down Under.
It came down to a decision at home in Basel, where father Robert Federer worked in the chemical industry.
After a three-month temporary assignment in Australia in the early 1990s, the senior Federer, married to South Africa-born wife Lynette, was given the chance to make the move permanent. But staying in Switzerland won out.
“I actually remember my parents having a debate about moving away from Switzerland to come live over here,” Australian Open top seed Federer said. “And even though it’s lucrative and nice to go to Australia, they love the country.
“They also asked us kids. And we were like, whatever the parents decide. What are we gonna decide here? At the end, they just said, “Look, we have all our friends over here when I was maybe 12, 14 years old.”
But a tennis trip was not the first time in Australia for Federer, who joined a family trip at age 14 with his parents and sister.
“We went on a big vacation here through Melbourne, Brisbane and Cairns and everything to get a better idea of the country,” he said. “It was a beautiful vacation, but in the end we decided to stay in Switzerland.”