Roger Federer reveals the deal with his parents that made his career possible

Roger Federer
A young Roger Federer

A teenaged Roger Federer managed to convince his parents to let him quit school to devote his time to honing his tennis skills.

Federer was just 14 years old when he left home to attend a performance centre.

By the time he was 16 years old, he felt that he needed to give all his time to tennis, having already received feedback regarding his incredible potential.

“When I was 14, I left home and attended a performance centre,” Federer told GQ Germany.

“Those were probably the two most important years of my life. I learned so much about life. At the age of 16 I decided to stop school. I tried online classes for a few months, but then realized pretty quickly that both weren’t possible and that I had to put everything on one card.

“I had a deal with my parents to give tennis a realistic chance and if it didn’t work out, to go back to school straight away and without complaining. What can I say, something has happened (laughs),” Federer said.

Federer says that players need to take care of themselves with tennis taking a huge mental toll.

He says that his junior career was a rollercoaster and that he had a few crises of confidence. Ultimately, he proved that tough times are part and parcel of the journey and can be critical to your overall development.

Federer said that tennis has a way of keeping you humble even if you are the best in the world.

He said that it wasn’t clear to him whether or not his coaches were on target with their esteem of his talents.

Federer believes that young players need strong support systems and a level head.

“At the beginning of my career, I received feedback pretty quickly that I was actually quite good at what I was doing,” Federer said when asked when he was first told that he was very good at tennis.

“At the beginning, it is of course, difficult to assess this, and you hardly dare to really believe it.

“And as soon as you slowly become a little more self-confident and think, hmm, maybe I’m really good, you’ll get punched in the nose, you can be sure of that (laughs).

“As a teenager, you already go through a rollercoaster of emotions, and when you add a career in competitive sports to the mix, you really have to take care of yourself.”

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