NEW YORK — Since Roger Federer and his wife, Mirka, had their twin daughters four years ago, the girls have become fixtures on the tennis circuit, traveling with Federer from tournament to tournament.
But their immersion in the tennis world hasn’t made Myla Rose and Charlene Riva eager to pick up tennis rackets. Federer says they haven’t shown any interest in following in the footsteps of their famous dad (or mom, who was also a professional tennis player).
“They’re not crazy about it. Either you like doing that or you don’t. And they’re in that part which they don’t,” Federer said in a recent interview. “They’d rather draw, listen to music, and dance, swim and do those kinds of things, which I’m really quite happy about. As long as they’re active and they do sports, which I think is good for them, then I’m all for it. I’m not pushing them in any way. But if they do it, I’m happy to help them out.”
Federer would be the ideal helper if that happens. He is the all-time Grand Slam champion with 17 titles under his belt.
Still, he hasn’t won a major title since Wimbledon in 2012, and at the U.S. Open, scheduled to start in the New York borough of Queens on Monday, he’s seeded seventh — the first time he’s been outside the top three at a Grand Slam tournament since 2003.
His goal, though, hasn’t changed: “Win the U.S. Open.”
“It’s fun chasing something you want to win again like I did in 2008,” Federer said.
With his girls with him, though, he’s not as singularly focused as he used to be.
“Tennis still remains a big priority in my life, like it used to, it’s just that I’ve adjusted to a new situation,” he said.
Federer’s face shows the contentment of family life — just the mention of his wife and children and his face beams with joy.”I didn’t have kids to have a reality check. I had kids because I love my wife and we wanted to start a family,” Federer said. “It’s been challenging, but you learn more about yourself.”
Federer says that throughout his career, he has always tried to balance his time with “things other than tennis.” But instead of an active nightlife, the activities have gotten more family oriented.
“Before having the girls, I used to be more flexible. … I could come and go. All I needed was my wallet and off I went. Bars, clubs, restaurants,” he said. “(Now) we’re visiting the cities from a different angle. Instead of going to bars and clubs, we go more to the park or the zoo and other attractions.”
He grinned while talking about a recent outing with the girls in New York City.
“I went to the Guggenheim (museum) with the kids. ‘Let’s go to the Guggenheim. Let’s go walk around and see some pictures and see what they say.’ We had a good time,” he said smiling.
“They’re great travelers and we have a great time. I guess looking back, these will be the years that I remember the most.”