Tennis great Roger Federer has returned to Brisbane, Australia to revisit the form and feeling that led to 73 wins in 2014; one of his best years ever and more wins than any other player.
And this year the tennis legend has started his 2015 campaign (ahead of the Brisbane International) with some mental relaxation and the chance to feed the wild dolphins that visit Tangalooma Island Resort on Moreton Island. The island is located a 75 minute boat ride from Queensland’s capital city.
Federer hopes the up close encounter with the dolphins will afford him the same luck that Tinkerbell, the Brisbane koala he cuddled this time last year, did.
“I think it did help me to visit Tinkerbell, the koala. I remember that it was special to be able to hold a koala and now this year, to be able to feed wild dolphins, is very special.” said Federer.
“I hope the dolphins are going to be my lucky charm this year.”
Dolphin staff assured the passionate animal lover that his powerful right hand would be safe; wild dolphins don’t actually bite the hand that feeds them … more they suck the fish away.
“I used my right hand, I risked my whole life for the dolphins but it is still here, I can still play tennis,” the excited tennis ace joked after his first dolphin feed.
Federer, the world number two and winner of 17 Grand Slam tournaments began last season at the Brisbane International, and although runner up to local hero Lleyton Hewitt, he says the Brisbane competition is always great preparation.
“You feel more comfortable starting the season here and that’s why I try to come here early. Preparations (have) been going really well, so I am very pleased.”
This year, Federer says he plans to do even better although he may not play as many tournaments. As he puts it, “I am not sure if I am going to play (as) much this year. So I would have to win even more matches because I am going to most likely play even less tournaments.”
“I would love to win the Australian Open. No doubt it would get me really close to world number one. Plus I would win another grand slam. If that would be possible, I would dream of winning Wimbledon once more.”
Roger Federer believes part of his success is being able to live a relatively stable family life which also includes touring with his family during tournaments.
“It’s busy especially with the four kids. At the same time it’s very relaxing – winning or losing, practicing or playing matches, visiting things – it is something I didn’t do early on in my career. Now it’s a totally different ball game and I really enjoy it.”
Feeding wild dolphins at Tangalooma Island has been an iconic experience for more than three decades and on his third visit to the sunshine state, Federer was keen to add it to his growing list of Queensland memories.
“I definitely think it’s a very laid back, relaxing and nice place to visit,” he said.
“This is definitely a part of Australia that you have to come see …. beautiful beaches, the climate’s nice (and) people are super friendly. Queensland is, I think, one of the better places on the planet. I’m happy I can start the season here and for those who like to travel I would suggest you come visit yourself.”