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By Blair Henley | Friday, June 27, 2014

Roger Federer Wimbledon

In his latest diary entries, Roger Federer discusses his hand injury, his littlest twins, his selfie coach and more. Find out what he’s been up to since arriving in London for his favorite tournament of the year.

Photo credit: Reuters / Tony Melville

Despite the constant presence of his loving family and a team of handlers to rival that of an international pop star, Roger Federer finds time to write in his Italian leather-bound journal.

Monday, June 23

Diary, it’s been too long. So long, in fact, that I clumsily stabbed the palm of my hand with my quill fashioned from the feather of the rare Japanese Ibis. That’s not what I told the media, of course. The general public does not need to know that I occasionally pour my deepest thoughts out on parchment. And imagine if someone found out that the ink with which I write is made from indigo dye mixed with the tears I collected during my personal Dark Ages of 2013? That would be an embarrassment greater than that unfortunate hair cut last year. But as the salty blue mixture seeps into the ancient papyrus in front of me, I’m reminded of why I kept those liquid sorrows – I never want to go back to that place.

It was Fabio Fognini who encouraged me to pick up my quill again after so many months. We shared a quiet moment in the locker room before our respective departures at Roland Garros, our admittedly unlikely friendship hatched from a mutual love of my FedHead line of hair products. His locks are a shade deeper than mine, dark chocolate to my milk, but we know what it is to have manes envied by fans far and wide. When I told him of my writing hiatus, he did not mince words.

Fabio: You serious? You serious? No, no, no. You serious? Serious?

Roger: Fabio, I just haven’t been inspired lately.

Fabio: This is crazy. You crazy. It is very good to write the words on the paper. To show the emotions. If you stop, you are crazy. Crazy!

He was right. Those difficult times have only added to my legacy, and I should feel no shame.

Tuesday, June 24

I was roused from my slumber by the tinkling of a string quartet. I’ve found that live classical music tends start my day off on the right foot, and we had no trouble finding suitable musicians in London. Speaking of my right foot, I placed it gently on the soft sod installed before my arrival at the manse we rented for the fortnight. After spending three interminable weeks playing on a surface that would be far better served as filler for Satan’s sandbox, I wanted to get the most out of grass court season. I felt there was no reason why I shouldn’t get to walk on that soft, green velvet both at home and at the All England Club.

There’s just something about the Wimbledon grass. Those eight millimeters of plush glory are nearly as soft as my babies’ bottoms. Of course, I don’t tread on my children’s tushies, but one can only imagine. Just the smell of the grass is enough to get my adrenaline pumping on game day; its earthy scent is rivaled only by my personal musk of gold, mahogany and greatness.

I dismissed the quartet and prepared for my first round match against Paolo Lorenzi. First on my to-do list? A breakfast of champions, including steel cut oats mixed with sweet nectar from the dessert honeysuckle. But soon my meal was interrupted by the catchy tune of ABBA’s Take a Chance on Me – Stefan was calling. It was time to head to the courts.

The match was quick and painless, as expected, but I no longer take my victories here at the All England Club for granted. Last year, I was forced to leave the lawns prematurely, and it took me months to regain my equilibrium.

Now I sit in my chambers, my eyelids heavy. Time to rest.

Wednesday, June 25

No match today, which means the timeless tunes from my personal string quartet did not commence until the 9 o’clock hour. My opponents may think I’m staying up all night with my new offspring, but…let’s be honest. I do enjoy visiting Lenny and Leo in their nursery. As I gazed down at the fruit of my loins, I noted that they are growing with the speed and grace of my world-famous footwork. I’m still a bit miffed that Mirka did not allow me to bestow strong Swiss names upon the two men that will carry on the Federer name. I would have preferred Ferdinand and Friedrich Federer, but even I can’t always get what I want.

Before heading to the lawns for a quick practice, I also glanced in on the first half of my procreational Grand Slam. Myla and Charlene were sprawled out on their bedroom floor thumbing through the latest issue of Vogue, a gift from Auntie Anna Wintour. Later Li Na will be arriving for the girls’ Chinese lesson. Having already mastered French, English, Swiss German and Mirka’s native Slovak, we figured it was time for a new challenge.

And while the girls are occupied this afternoon, I’ll be meeting with my selfie coach Genie Bouchard in the garden. Mr. Murray isn’t the only ATP player man enough to be coached by a woman. I may be sitting here on a gilded throne carved from reclaimed wood, wearing a mud mask to minimize the size of my pores while my masseuse gently kneads essential oils into my neck and shoulders, but no one needs to know that. My fans need to find me accessible, and social media is a necessary aspect of my “everyman” persona. Genie is young and hip, perfect for helping me create spontaneous-looking selfies without the help of my hair and makeup team. Indispensable, she is.

Thursday, June 26

No entry.

Friday, June 27

After I returned from my practice session, there was a gift basket at my door. I knew immediately who it was from, but I read the card anyway.

Dear RF,
I give you many congratulations on your victory against Gilles Muller yesterday. Only one year ago you were shedding the tears after losing in the same round, no? I was a loser also at Wimbledon last year, but I had ocho trophies from the clay to make me very happy. It is more sad for you, yes? I put in this basket some gifts. Dos El Toro onesies for the bebes, especial paella made in my kitchen and a DVD with my instructions for the fitness. Before the US Open, you will for sure see a muscle in your arm. Something you would like, yes?

Your Friend,
The King of Clay and also of the Hard Courts (and Sometimes the Grass)


Blair Henley is a tennis writer and a proud owner of a one-handed backhand. That, and her silky locks, are all she has in common with Roger Federer. Follow her on Twitter: @BlairHenley


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