Last week I looked in-depth at Rafa’s 2006 French Open blog, which was probably the best thing I’ve ever read. I figured there was no way the next player’s blog I looked at could top it. And then Amy alerted me to Fed’s 2006 Tokyo blog. Ladies and gentlemen, we have a contest.
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
Monday, October 2, 2006
Yes, yes, yes. This is going to be fun.
It’s very exciting to be here in Tokyo and I’m also very pleased to be writing the atpworldtour.com blog this week. I’ve read a few blogs during the year. I really enjoy them as they shed some light on what goes on behind the scenes on the ATP circuit and it’s a great way to communicate with the fans.
I hope he saw Rafa’s blog and read about all the dates.
I’ve had an unbelievable time since arriving in Japan on Friday. I had one of my first practices on one of the outside courts of the Ariake Tennis Forest Park and many, many fans watched me. That was very special for me. They all had their cameras and their phones up in the air taking photos. It was like a sight I’d never seen before. People were running behind me on the way to practice, wanting photos, autographs, my rackets and even my clothes. I thought for a second that maybe I should practice naked.
OH DEAR GOD NO. NONONONONONO.
Two months ago the tournament asked me if I would practice at 10AM on Centre Court on the first day of the tournament and I did not understand why but I decided it would be ok. Now I understand why. The tournament had promoted it as my first official practice in Japan and opened it to the public. It was great to see so many fans out there for an early morning practice.
Way to play it cool, Japan.
On Saturday I had an incredible experience meeting with the Crown Prince of Japan, Prince Naruhito at one of the Imperial Palaces. I had been waiting for the moment for a long time and it was something that needed to be planned well in advance because of the protocol. We went to one of his guest palaces. He had two clay courts back there. I warmed up with him and I was surprised how well he played. Then I played with another junior as he took a rest and then I asked the Prince if he’d like to play some doubles. He was excited about that and we played a set together, which was a lot of fun and we won! I must admit that the Prince hit some fantastic winners and was a great partner.
I don’t know what to do with any of this.
The other night I played a joke on Mirka and put a lot of wasabi (the very strong green paste) underneath a piece of her sashimi…she still has fire coming out of her nose and has promised to get me back!
Oh Fed. What a charmer.
For breakfast I was introduced to the Japanese custom of drinking vinegar, which is supposed to clean your system. I quite enjoyed that.
Hey Fed, please don’t talk about your “system” anymore. THANKS.
Sayonara and write to you tomorrow!
PS – In one of the photos above you will see that Mirka and I meet up with Monica Seles, Japanese tennis legend Kimiko Date and her husband, German racing driver Michael Krumm.
What a fabulous pic:
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
I am a bit late with my second blog. I still felt a little bit jet-lagged last night and this morning I slept until 11:30…I feel much better now.
Glad to hear it!
Like probably everyone else, the first place where I go after getting up is the bathroom. This is quite an experience here in Japan as they have the best toilets in the world. You could sit on the toilet for hours! The seat is warm, there is a water spray…Toto, the makers of this special toilet seat, are geniuses. The toilet in my bathroom is like a space shuttle, there are so many buttons that I am always afraid to press the wrong one. I definitely want to buy one for my apartment!
I … I … I … I’m actually speechless.
Already in this blog, ONLY DAY TWO, we’ve had references to practicing naked, his “system,” and some extremely in-depth toilet talk.
Quiet … GENIUS AT WORK.
Last night for dinner I had sushi in Ginza, one of the nicest neighbourhood in Tokyo. My favourite sushi is tuna but I cannot eat squid. They served me squid last night and that made me feel like wanting to become a vegetarian again! People maybe don’t know but I wasn’t eating either meat or fish until 10 years ago but now I eat everything.
After reading Rafa’s blog last week it proves that there is no one diet that guarantees success. Because if Rafa didn’t eat meat he would starve.
Mirka did not come to dinner last night so I brought her back some take away sushi. She was afraid to eat it as she thought ‘Captain Wasabi’ would hit again but I never play the same joke twice. And she hasn’t had her revenge yet, so I need to watch out…
Before there was PseudoFed, there was just Captain Wasabi.
Today I practiced from five to six before the Official Welcome Party of the AIG Japan Open. They put me to practice on court five away from the crowd but since there were so many fans there I moved to court seven so that they could be closer to me.
What a blessing for them.
I’m off to dinner with Tim Henman and Stefan Koubek at the teppanyaki. Tim is paying tonight so I will make a double order of Kobe beef!!!
Wednesday, October 4, 2006
Last night we had the sponsor reception and welcome party at the official hotel here in Tokyo. Together with other players I went on stage to break a barrel of sake, which is supposed to bring good luck. I thought of giving it such a hard wack that I would destroy the barrel but at the very last moment I thought to myself ‘Roger maybe you shouldn’t be doing this’ and I behaved appropriately by giving it the right force.
Phew, you really talked yourself off the ledge there, Rog!
After the party I went for dinner with Tim Henman and Stefan Koubek who are two of my friends on the tour. We went to a teppanyaki restaurant where they cook in front of you. Tim had a funny idea and decided to exchange his chopsticks with the chef’s utensils and took over from him. Actually he was pretty good, I mean he’s a father after all, but I got too worried about my beef and I requested a change of chef. The dinner was delicious.
Seriously, poor Tim.
I will be funnier again tomorrow as I am quite tired from the match and Dmitry is looking over my shoulder and making me very nervous…
Thursday, October 5, 2006
I am happy to be back online writing to all of you after a not so funny experience last night…
The trouble started when I woke up in the middle of the night, I must have had a nightmare. I jumped out of bed and stood up screaming in a state of shock, I did not know where I was and I ran back and hit the corner of the bed which is solid wood and sharp. Luckily Mirka was there, she woke up because of all the noise that I made, turned on the light on, grabbed me and told me to relax. Apparently I screamed out loud the same thing as I said on court against Tursunov in Toronto (a four letter word that someone might associate with doing on a Toto toilet). I have a big bruise on my tibia now. I don’t know what would have happened if she hadn’t been there. It was pretty scary for a moment, it’s never happened to me before and hope it will never happen again. Mirka thinks I have been playing too much tennis this year and that is why it might have happened, but I think it might have been the sake bomber I had during the shabu-shabu dinner.
OH.MY.GOD. Athletes: they’re just like us. Except I don’t know anyone who’s ever done that. So nevermind.
(Laughing too hard to think straight.)
THIS: “a four letter word that someone might associate with doing on a Toto toilet.” Why is that not the official copy in Webster’s Dictionary?
Once I calmed down and went back to bed I realized I was in pain and that maybe I should ice my leg. But it was 4AM and I was too tired…I went back to sleep then woke up again (no drama this time…) and had my normal game day breakfast: vinegar shot, orange juice, cappuccino, water, waffles with raspberry syrup, passion fruit and corn flakes with milk.
That is the grossest combination ever.
I came to the site around 11AM as I was scheduled third match on Centre Court but I had to wait a long time as both women’s matches before mine went to the three sets…I was really impatient to go on court. I was actually lucky to be scheduled on Centre Court as they have a roof here. It’s been raining since this morning and a lot of other players are hanging around in the locker room waiting for their match. We’re having some fun in the locker room listening to music, gossiping and checking out some funny stuff on the internet.
I have also been busy this week selecting the photos for my 2007 calendar. It will be ready very soon. No, it is not a swimsuit calendar, but we will have a broad range of both on court and off court photos and I hope it will make a great Christmas gift.
No, it is not a swimsuit calendar.
The hotel where I stay in Tokyo is excellent. The hotel standards in Japan seem to be very high. They pay a lot of attention to details here and besides the space ship I sit on in the morning, I particularly like the wood (unless you kick the sharp edge with your tibia…) and stone combination, which gives a very warm atmosphere. I am interested in interior designing and have been impressed by what we have seen in Japan. It’s given us a lot of ideas for our place.
Pretty much all wood is good wood until it attacks you. Similarly, spaceship toilets are great until you end up on Mars. Tennis is super hard on Mars.
Off to dinner now where I can guarantee you I will not have another shot of sake!
Vamos responsibly, Roger.
Friday, October 6, 2006
As many of you know, in Japan they call their currency YEN. Maybe I was a bit tired last night but when the waiter brought the check after dinner and it said 17,000 I freaked for a second. I thought how was it possible that my dinner cost $17,000….did I order the most expensive glass of wine in the world? Did I eat some rare delicacy in the tasting menu? Then I realized the price was in Yen and I relaxed.
I had to get up early again this morning as I was scheduled third match from 9am. Many of you might know that I am not an early riser. If I had my way, I could definitely sleep all day.
I have something in common with Roger Federer. I never thought I’d see the day!
The match itself was played at a very high-standard, the serving from both sides I thought was amazing. I think I got a little bit lucky in the second set to get the break to take it 7-5 and then take it to the third. Having to play a tie-break in the final set was an obvious result because of our great serving [and poor returning ;)].
Federer is referring to this match in the quarterfinals, where he barely survived No. 1,078 Takao Suzuki 4-6, 7-5, 7-6 (3). Of course, the match report mainly talks about his night terror.
Thanks to everyone for being worried about my leg. It’s still swollen and there is a little cut, but you know tough guys don’t cry.
Are you sure about that Fed?
Yesterday I told you I thought I had the dream because of the Sake bomber, but I seriously doubt it was the Sake bomber, I am pretty sure now after reconsidering that it was because of Mirka keeping me on my toes trying to seek her revenge on Captain Wasabi. I have heard rumblings of many players (and fans) giving Mirka ideas of how to pay me back. I realize that no matter what happens in the remaining matches, I will be leaving Japan soon, so Captain Wasabi has put his defences on high alert and I will now pay more attention to what I eat. One of the fans tipped me off that perhaps she was going to try and mix a lot of wasabi into a scoop of green tea ice cream…I will now make her taste it first if we order it for dessert.
He is talking in the third person as Captain Wasabi and it is TOO MUCH. Why do we not still call him that? Let’s bring it back.
Apparently there was a famous Japanese samurai called Benke who killed a lot of warriors during his battles. They say that his downfall was a weakness in his shin. Hopefully, my shin will continue to get better and not pose a problem for the remainder of the event.
Today I scared Sanji Arisawa, the tournament director, for the second time. Not only did I win 7-6 in the third in almost losing to Suzuki, after my match while I was getting stretched in the training room, Sanji came in and just as he walked in, I yelled out “ouch my back” and he said “good try you cant scare me twice in one day”.
Captain Wasabi and the jokings! So funny.
As you probably noticed, I am playing again with a collared-shirt, which I am happy about, as it’s nice to change it up once in a while. I had been wearing t-shirts for some time but now but both Nike and I thought we should change it up a bit. I have had many fans write me about a t-shirt I wore during practice the other day. It was blue t-shirt Nike made for the US Open and they borrowed the theme of James Bond and instead of the “Man with the Golden Gun”, they wrote that Roger Federer is the Man with the Golden Racquet.” You can see my shadow and the text in the shirt. Nike made it in different colours and I think it looks really great. I have always been a James Bond junkie….tell me how cool that guy is????
Too far, Nike. Too far.
I am very psyched as next Friday I will be flying to Barcelona before the Madrid tournament to film a Nike commercial. Like a true James Bond mission, I can’t tell you the theme of the commercial as it is top secret…
Yes, James Bond missions are very similar to Nike commercials. It’s the exact same thing.
Saturday, October 7, 2006
Earlier on this week, I told you guys how beautiful the trees were around the lake in the Imperial Palace where I played tennis with the Crown Prince of Japan. Yesterday evening after my match, I went and had a quick look around the shops and came across a nice bonsai tree. The bonsai has always been one of my favourites, so I thought I would take picture for you guys to see. It is just amazing how meticulous and harmonious the Japanese are in everything they do.
He’s talking about you, Nishikori. He’s talking about you.
Sunday, October 8, 2006
Tim and I then warmed up and chatted together in the locker room while we were waiting for the women’s final to finish. We were playing with a rugby ball and he was throwing the ball so well. Like me, he played so many sports growing up and you can tell he was good at rugby as he throws a perfect ball.
I played a really solid match, a kind of performance that I was really hoping for. Tim played one bad game, and I took advantage of that in the first set. But then I played really well in the second set and hit some incredible passing shots, which I was really happy about. I sometimes enjoy playing opponents who come to the net quite often as it is a style that is not played as much anymore and I like having a target.
I am not sure of my plans yet for tonight, but we will go out for dinner in a bigger group because I have a few friends here, so we will probably have a celebration dinner which will be a lot of fun. We will definitely go out for Japanese. I know that we will have a nice time…with Mirka probably getting her revenge at some stage! Captain Wasabi is a little drained from the match today, but as you can imagine, he is ready for anything. His entire security team has been put on full alert and will be patrolling tonight so let’s hope they can thwart any attack.
Captain Wasabi has put His Staff on alert. Captain Wasabi does not do the messings around.
Finally I want to talk about the fans here in Tokyo. They are absolutely unreal!!! Not only did they support me greatly when I played, but they were also so happy to see me and they love taking pictures, not only when I practice, but even when I walk in and out of press.
They can’t get enough of Captain Wasabi.
Thank you for reading my blog this week, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I have enjoyed writing it! What I tried to do is to make it fun and let you know what is happening behind the scenes. As you can see, there sometimes is a routine that happens during a tournament week. I must admit, that this blog has been great for me to write as it allowed me to take a step back and think about how fortunate I am to play a sport (yes, a game!) that I love so much and earn a great living doing it. Just to think that I was always just hoping to be good at tennis so I could play with my friends at home in Basel and now here I am. I am very lucky and I certainly don’t take this for granted…and I never will!
As I sign off for the last time with a glass of Champagne in my hand, I say to all of you…”Best wishes and Sayonara.”
Oh Captain Wasabi, it’s hard to stay snarky with you.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to scrub all inappropriate images of Fed brought on by this blog out of my brain.