TENNIS

‘I just hope people don’t think they can start doing at 25 what I’m doing at 36’: Roger Federer

In an interview with ‘The Guardian’, the Swiss talks about spending time with family and friends, the importance of taking breaks, 2020 Olympics and more.

Three more wins at the World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam and Roger Federer will return to where he was six years ago: at the top of the men’s tennis pack. Since the Australian Open win last year, the Swiss genius has maximised his magnificent resurgence to add three more Slams – including his successful title defence in Melbourne this year – to his world record tally.

The prospect of returning to world No 1 excites Federer, he’s happy about his revival and looks forward to more tennis. But as he told to The Guardian in an interview, his health and his family’s well-being take precedence over his tennis success.

Here are the topics Federer discussed in the interview:

Family over tennis

“Ever since my kids were born it has been that way. My wife needs to be happy. My kids need to be happy. Without that this doesn’t matter.”

Private life in the age of social media

“I’ve got a very busy and exciting life. I get to meet a lot of people. When I don’t want to meet people, don’t want to play tournaments, I can choose to do that. Since 10 years now there are mobile phones to take videos and pictures. You do feel like maybe your privacy has been taken away even more. But it’s OK. I don’t feel like it’s too much and that I can’t take it. You think twice when you go out sometimes. You think, am I in the mood for maybe it to happen, or am I just happy to stay home anyway? I try to just have a normal life, go for a walk, see my friends...”

The much-needed break

“You can always play more if you want to. You can always play less if you want to. I just hope people don’t think that what I’m doing at 36 they can start doing at 25. I played full schedule from ’98 or ’99, really, to 2016. Until I was injured. I was 34 at the time. Did I plan last year to play a light schedule? No. Did I plan to skip the clay-court season? No. Did I plan to win all these tournaments? No. It all happened organically.

“I played [three] majors [in 2017]. I won two of them. One of them [Australia] almost killed me by playing three five-setters. I was injured afterwards. Then I also couldn’t play. My philosophy is I play when I’m ready. I’m not just going to play tournaments to see how I’m feeling. What I did last year – and what Rafa [Nadal] is doing also – is maybe a bit of a lighter schedule, and it shows to others by working or practising a bit more – or taking time – you can improve your potential and you become a different or better player.

“Say I go out for six months and I only work on my serve-and-volley game. I feel like I’d be a different player six months later but everybody’s scared to do it because they’re, like, what about my ranking, what about this, what about that? Sponsors maybe, or prize money, I’m not going to make money. It’s hard to say. I just won’t do it, right?

The 2020 Olympics

“It’s not like with Rio [in 2016], where it was really something I set myself as a goal. If I’m still playing, great. But I’m not saying I have to play one more [Olympics] before I retire. If it happens, then it makes sense for me to go play, but it’s too far away. I don’t know what happens then. We’ll see if it works and makes sense. I haven’t put it on the table.”

French Open this year

“I guess by being here now, and maybe being in Dubai, it’s just going to have to be lighter if I play the clay-court season. Or not at all. So I just have to get into this situation a little bit, because the priority is for me to try to defend my sunshine double in Indian Wells and Miami. So, then we’ll see what happens with the clay, what happens next.”

Support our journalism by subscribing to Scroll+ here. We welcome your comments at letters@scroll.in.
Sponsored Content BY 

Swara Bhasker: Sharp objects has to be on the radar of every woman who is tired of being “nice”

The actress weighs in on what she loves about the show.

This article has been written by award-winning actor Swara Bhasker.

All women growing up in India, South Asia, or anywhere in the world frankly; will remember in some form or the other that gentle girlhood admonishing, “Nice girls don’t do that.” I kept recalling that gently reasoned reproach as I watched Sharp Objects (you can catch it on Hotstar Premium). Adapted from the author of Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn’s debut novel Sharp Objects has been directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, who has my heart since he gave us Big Little Lies. It stars the multiple-Oscar nominee Amy Adams, who delivers a searing performance as Camille Preaker; and Patricia Clarkson, who is magnetic as the dominating and dark Adora Crellin. As an actress myself, it felt great to watch a show driven by its female performers.

The series is woven around a troubled, alcohol-dependent, self-harming, female journalist Camille (single and in her thirties incidentally) who returns to the small town of her birth and childhood, Wind Gap, Missouri, to report on two similarly gruesome murders of teenage girls. While the series is a murder mystery, it equally delves into the psychology, not just of the principal characters, but also of the town, and thus a culture as a whole.

There is a lot that impresses in Sharp Objects — the manner in which the storytelling gently unwraps a plot that is dark, disturbing and shocking, the stellar and crafty control that Jean-Marc Vallée exercises on his narrative, the cinematography that is fluid and still manages to suggest that something sinister lurks within Wind Gap, the editing which keeps this narrative languid yet sharp and consistently evokes a haunting sensation.

Sharp Objects is also liberating (apart from its positive performance on Bechdel parameters) as content — for female actors and for audiences in giving us female centric and female driven shows that do not bear the burden of providing either role-models or even uplifting messages. 

Instead, it presents a world where women are dangerous and dysfunctional but very real — a world where women are neither pure victims, nor pure aggressors. A world where they occupy the grey areas, complex and contradictory as agents in a power play, in which they control some reigns too.

But to me personally, and perhaps to many young women viewers across the world, what makes Sharp Objects particularly impactful, perhaps almost poignant, is the manner in which it unravels the whole idea, the culture, the entire psychology of that childhood admonishment “Nice girls don’t do that.” Sharp Objects explores the sinister and dark possibilities of what the corollary of that thinking could be.

“Nice girls don’t do that.”

“Who does?”

“Bad girls.”

“So I’m a bad girl.”

“You shouldn’t be a bad girl.”

“Why not?”

“Bad girls get in trouble.”

“What trouble? What happens to bad girls?”

“Bad things.”

“What bad things?”

“Very bad things.”

“How bad?”

“Terrible!!!”

“Like what?”

“Like….”

A point the show makes early on is that both the victims of the introductory brutal murders were not your typically nice girly-girls. Camille, the traumatised protagonist carrying a burden from her past was herself not a nice girl. Amma, her deceptive half-sister manipulates the nice girl act to defy her controlling mother. But perhaps the most incisive critique on the whole ‘Be a nice girl’ culture, in fact the whole ‘nice’ culture — nice folks, nice manners, nice homes, nice towns — comes in the form of Adora’s character and the manner in which beneath the whole veneer of nice, a whole town is complicit in damning secrets and not-so-nice acts. At one point early on in the show, Adora tells her firstborn Camille, with whom she has a strained relationship (to put it mildly), “I just want things to be nice with us but maybe I don’t know how..” Interestingly it is this very notion of ‘nice’ that becomes the most oppressive and deceptive experience of young Camille, and later Amma’s growing years.

This ‘Culture of Nice’ is in fact the pervasive ‘Culture of Silence’ that women all over the world, particularly in India, are all too familiar with. 

It takes different forms, but always towards the same goal — to silence the not-so-nice details of what the experiences; sometimes intimate experiences of women might be. This Culture of Silence is propagated from the child’s earliest experience of being parented by society in general. Amongst the values that girls receive in our early years — apart from those of being obedient, dutiful, respectful, homely — we also receive the twin headed Chimera in the form of shame and guilt.

“Have some shame!”

“Oh for shame!”

“Shameless!”

“Shameful!”

“Ashamed.”

“Do not bring shame upon…”

Different phrases in different languages, but always with the same implication. Shameful things happen to girls who are not nice and that brings ‘shame’ on the family or everyone associated with the girl. And nice folks do not talk about these things. Nice folks go on as if nothing has happened.

It is this culture of silence that women across the world today, are calling out in many different ways. Whether it is the #MeToo movement or a show like Sharp Objects; or on a lighter and happier note, even a film like Veere Di Wedding punctures this culture of silence, quite simply by refusing to be silenced and saying the not-nice things, or depicting the so called ‘unspeakable’ things that could happen to girls. By talking about the unspeakable, you rob it of the power to shame you; you disallow the ‘Culture of Nice’ to erase your experience. You stand up for yourself and you build your own identity.

And this to me is the most liberating aspect of being an actor, and even just a girl at a time when shows like Sharp Objects and Big Little Lies (another great show on Hotstar Premium), and films like Veere Di Wedding and Anaarkali Of Aarah are being made.

The next time I hear someone say, “Nice girls don’t do that!”, I know what I’m going to say — I don’t give a shit about nice. I’m just a girl! And that’s okay!

Swara is a an award winning actor of the Hindi film industry. Her last few films, including Veere Di Wedding, Anaarkali of Aaraah and Nil Battey Sannata have earned her both critical and commercial success. Swara is an occasional writer of articles and opinion pieces. The occasions are frequent :).

Watch the trailer of Sharp Objects here:

Play

This article was published by the Scroll marketing team with Swara Bhasker on behalf of Hotstar Premium and not by the Scroll editorial team.