Roger Federer’s tranquil Swiss upbringing could well be the key to the relaxed atmosphere among the men’s tennis elite, with rivals also friends at the Australian Open.

The number two could have been a diplomat with the way he gets along well with his hottest competitor, Rafael Nadal, as well as the other elites including Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray and the rest.

The Swiss with 16 Grand Slam titles says that he feels a pleasant ambience in the game is an important goal.

“When I came onto tour, I felt it was pretty friendly, especially also (Andre) Agassi towards the end of his career,” said the 29-year-old. “He was always very friendly. Pete (Sampras) was maybe not speaking as much, but he was friendly, too.

“You obviously had (Carlos) Moya, (Tim) Henman, so many other guys who stuck around for such a long time who really were very welcoming for the young guys.’ Federer took the lesson to heart and puts it into practice with today’s fast-rising young guns.

“I always thought it was actually quite nice to be nice to younger generations instead of making them feel like this is going to be hell for you. “It’s nice to respect each other and be friendly to each other.

I’m sure it rubbed off on Rafa. I think when they see the two of us being the biggest rivals in the sport actually to speak to each other and be somewhat friendly, I think that rubs off to other players as well.” But good nature can only go so far in the competitive world.

“Tennis is a fierce sport, a tough sport, but at the end of the day it’s only a sport. “There’s so much more to life. I think maybe that’s a little bit what I’ve been able to show many other athletes. Once you’re out on court you play tough and fair. That’s how I do it anyway out on centre court.”

Keywords: Australian Open

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