In her diary from the Western and Southern Open in Mason, Ohio, Reem Abulleil gives us a behind-the-scenes look at some of the funnier moments from the press conference room.
“I can’t get hurt, that’s most important. But I need to do other things than just play tennis all the time. There’s going to be come scary moments, I know that. I do hope that the skill-set from tennis comes into play in a big, big way today. Bear, I might look like a tough guy on the tennis court, but I’m actually very scared of a lot of things in life. There’s going to be scary moments for me, so just hold my hand.”
Those were Roger Federer‘s words at the start of the Running Wild with Bear Grylls episode he filmed with the famous British adventurer. The episode was actually shot a year and a half ago, after Federer won the 2017 Australian Open, but it only aired last month on NBC.
Grylls took Federer on an adventure through the Swiss Alps, where the 20-time Grand Slam champion tested his limits as he trekked through difficult terrain up and down mountains, ate a fish eyeball, and peed on camera to put out a fire.
In Cincinnati this week, Federer spoke about what that experience was like and how scared he really was hanging from a rope on the side of a mountain.
“It was a lot of fun, I loved it. Bear, I’ve met him before I did the show many times. He came to the World Tour Finals, he came to Wimbledon, I had dinner once with him and his lovely wife as well, with Mirka in the past, and I know his mom is like a huge fan of mine,” said Federer on Monday.
“Personally I grew up hiking, I love going for hikes with my children and this whole survival stuff is something I feel very connected to in Switzerland with the mountains, the lakes, the forest and all that stuff that we have and I thought it would be a perfect venue. The only problem was that it was snowy and it was cold and I don’t like cold and he said we’d have to do an over-nighter, and I said ‘I don’t know if I can do an over-nighter because I can’t get sick, I can’t get hurt, so I don’t know why I’m doing it’, and so it was all these funny things,” he said laughing.
Despite injuring his groin en route to the Australian Open title, Federer agreed to do the show.
“I had a great time. Of course I didn’t expect some of the things, like the fish eye and other things, and going down this big cliff, he didn’t tell me about it. I thought after the first hump that was it, then he told me to keep going, I looked down and go like ‘Oh my God, why am I even doing this?’ But it was great fun. I really enjoyed it,” said the Swiss.
It’s been a fun time in the press conference room so far this week with the players, and even coaches, providing us with some interesting one-liners. Here’s a sample of some of the exchanges that have taken place in the media centre.
Q. 138 miles per hour. I’m not sure on my math. Do you know what that translates to kilometres? It’s a math question.
Nick Kyrgios: I’m not a calculator.
Q. On-court coaching, you know you’re on live TV. Would you coach differently if you were behind closed doors?
Darren Cahill: I might swear a little more (smiling).
“It felt like my mind was lying to me. It felt like I wanted to win, but at the same time, it was not like a big deal for me, which I was pretty worried about. I don’t know why I felt like this.”
— Stefanos Tsitsipas after his opening round loss to David Goffin on Tuesday.
Q. I have really enjoyed watching you play this summer, both here in Cincinnati and Washington. You just talked about calming. At 31, do you feel calmer than ever on the tour during the hard court season?
Robin Haase: I don’t want to correct you, but I don’t know who you saw in Washington but that was not me.
Can you give me some of your thoughts on Daniel Nestor’s career and maybe thoughts on his legacy not only on tennis in Canada but also tennis as a whole?
Novak Djokovic: Well, I think his legacy would be greater if he played once with me, but he hasn’t (smiling).