ATP Masters 500BaselFan StoriesRoger FedererSwiss Indoors

Basel Fan Story: We’re All On ‘Cloud 999’

The weather was as measurable as the English winter over the entire weekend. Cold, grey and raining, gah! How unlucky would I feel if I had visited this place purely for tourism? But that wasn't the case. How lucky I was!

How fortunate to have a Fed-experience at his hometown and to see him winning a trophy. It cost me a small fortune, but it was well worth it. Back home last week, I still can’t stop smiling. My face muscles are permanently paralysed by Fed magic? I want to sit alone quietly with a nice couple of tea and think through the event.

I had the tickets for semi-final and final so it was a nerve-racking week until my flight to Basel landed on Friday night.

As we all knew he was struggling. He was losing serve like never before! I’m normally optimistic but I was ready to be just a tourist spending some quality time with my girlfriend. Nice meal and wine. Yeah, not bad, right?

I was checking the score on social media until the last minute of boarding. Gosh it was a roller costar vs Giles, wasn’t it! The match was in the 2nd set and he lost serve yet again…argh it’s going a decider, isn’t it!

It was agony not knowing his fate and mine, I did nothing but pray in the air. When the aircraft landed I switched on my phone, prepared to find the worst. Then I noticed a message, it was from a tennis blogger…with just an emoji of 🐐 as the message.

OMG, I will see him tomorrow!

The Tournament and the Venue

Basel Tram 14

We loved it. St. Jakobshalle is conveniently located, compact and well organised. The tram from the city centre arrives in front of the entrance.

The transport network is impeccable (compared to France) and free for the tourists (with a Basel Card which is given by your accommodation).

As you can imagine, everything is as efficient in Switzerland as their watches. The Swiss Indoors, it feels like a prestige event, with the red carpet and well-maintained flower pots. Yet it’s relaxed and accessible.

Inside the venue, Roger’s dad was casually strolling alone in the crowd. The Federer family were having a gathering in the dining area, just outside of gate A1 where normal spectators also eat and drink.

The twins x 3 (including Roger’s sisters) accompanied by I think Diana’s husband, were waving their hands to their dad/uncle at the ceremony just a meter away from my seat. (Awww all so cute!)

You know, amazingly nobody bothered them. People just leave them alone. I was greatly impressed by how respectful Swiss people were.

The staff, barmen, ushers, security guys, all very nice and friendly. And not just Swiss fans but all spectators are polite and fair. They applaud great shots produced by whomever, even against their favourite son and hardly clap for double faults either. Not a zoo, trust me, Sue.

The view of the court was spectacular. Excellent visibility even from upper seats. Cool lighting, too. The atmosphere was simply awesome. We know too well anywhere Fed plays, the support for him is phenomenal. But at his home, the love for him is immense, utterly unique – this experience alone, worth a trip.

The Matches

Federer Wanda Fan Story

On Saturday we enjoyed the Zverev vs Copil match before Roger. We, I mean the crowd loved Marius! He played fantastically. Why have I never seen this guy? (Hahaha I know why I don’t really watch Fedless tennis 😆 )

He earned quite a lot of fans there. His slice was as good as Fed, I thought. And the serve under pressure, impressive! I was happy for him making the final…well until he broke Roger the next day.

The other semi-final was a bit let-down because of Medvedev’s poor form. But who cares, our Roger won without a taxing job. Who complains about having another chance to see him and it’s the Final. It was such a fun also participating for the Mexican wave led by the red Fed fan army.

As for the Final, I had a strong belief that he would get the No.9 and No.99 even though he was broken in both sets. Because of the way he fought through the matches with the bloody-mindedness. And it was so amazing to see it live really.

I felt that the entire arena was like a big peRFect Tennis chat room sharing ‘argh’ & ‘ooh’ and silent ‘hold & break’ mantra. A fun match though it was so intense! I clapped my hands so hard all the time that they were red and in pain. And the ceremony…Gee, why does the guy with 99 trophies still get so emotional? Please don’t make me cry, dude. You will be lifting many more trophies!

Getting a Selfie

Wanda Selfie

Some of you want to hear the selfie story and see the pic 😆 ?

It wasn’t easy. All you can do is hope. Hope to see him. After the semi-final, we missed him as it was raining and he waved at us from his car and drove away. Consolation? Got a selfie with Severin 🙂

After the final, we waited again for nearly 3 hours in the cold. We are about 30-40 people or more. Silly, I know. I couldn’t believe myself doing it either.

Me, I dare not ask him for an autograph let alone a selfie. But fortunately, the friend who was with me is brave enough to already have autographs and photos with top players including Roger at Wimbledon.

C’mooon,  she said. Glad I decided to try. Marius came out long before Roger appeared. He was friendly, happily signed and selfied for fans surely knowing that we were waiting for Fed. So I got a selfie with him, too. Fangirl – I know, Jonathan.

Roger looked taller and slimmer, especially in the dark colour Uniqlo outfit and more handsome in real life than the media photos, we agreed.

He thanked fans who congratulate him, signed the ball and took selfies with each of us waited there. I had an RF cap in my hand when he walked towards me. Hopelessly a star-struck I was, failed to ask for his autographs 😆

When he came around for the selfie, my heart nearly came out of my mouth. I was shaking (was cold, you know) so he picked my phone and took a pic for me. I am dead.

Well, you wouldn’t want to see 90-year-old Sophie (my icon) with the GOAT, would you? So instead, I will share a video clip to show you how incredibly gorgeous, patient and sweet Roger was in person. How could anyone not love him?

The whole thing went great. Apart from the damage to my bank account. Everybody was happy. The whole city seemed happy for their hero.

The local newspapers’ front pages on Monday were Roger with the trophy. We're all on Cloud 999…except perhaps Mr Burning-Forest? He looked glum and nasty when I saw him chatting with a lady near us in the bar. What’s wrong with him, really?

Bravo, Roger! And many thanks to Jonathan for the great job day and night. Thanks to all who thought of me and cheered for Fed to make to the weekend.

Love the Goat. Love the blog. Wish this whole Fed world would continue. Forever.

Wanda

Jonathan

Huge fan of Roger Federer - I'll pretty much try and watch all his matches from Grand Slam level right down to ATP 250. When I'm not watching or tweeting about tennis I play regularly myself and use this blog to share my thoughts on Fed and tennis in general.

Related Articles

54 Comments

  1. Wanda: Brilliant report that has me grinning from ear to ear just to read about your trip. Thank you.
    The video from the sidelines shows an angle that you very rarely see on television. It helps people see how large the court is in real life. I think on television the court looks much shorter and non-tennis people can’t get a feel for what it’s like in person.

    And if I had as much faith as you that Roger would go all the way at Basel I would have been temped to empty my bank account as well.
    Thank you!

  2. Thanks for writing Wanda, I enjoyed Basel a lot when I went in 2015, the St Jakobshalle is a great venue. Those videos you took are really cool too, always great to see different angles.

    1. Basel was on my bucket list for long time. Inspired by your post in 2015, l finally decided to go. So thank YOU…for 🐐 as well 😉

  3. Wanda, great post glad you enjoyed yourself so much. Your
    excitement shines through your words, thankyou and Jonathan
    for allowing us to feel a little jealous x

  4. Great post Wanda,I well remember waiting for the number 14 tram.Everything is so civilised there isn’t it,they even wash the pavements every morning.You obviously had a wonderful time,seeing Fed win the final and then that selfie😊

  5. A wonderful piece, thankyou Wanda so much for conveying the thrills of Roger winning in Basel, seems it renewed him as he took the momentum to Bercy for a fab showing there too!
    The relief of seeing that goat icon on landing said so much! Particularly about your caring friend letting you know he was still alive in his special place! We can all relate to being somewhere and wanting to know so badly that he won, more stressful when your trip depended on it…phew!!!
    The passion fedfans have for Roger doing well is almost matched by their wanting that we all get to share some aspect of his compelling career!
    Thanks again Wanda for sharing your magical experience & beautiful writing with us ,.. #9#99 unforgettable!

  6. Great story, thanks a lot. This is my first post on this beautiful blog but I have been following it for quiet some time. You are doing amazing job Jonathan, thanks a lot.
    I was in Basel last year for quarterfinals and it was great. All four matches were really tight including the nail-biting one between Roger and Mannarino (you all probably remember that half volley winner in the third set when the score was I think 2:3, 30:40).
    Anyway your post Wanda brings back a lot of memories and I just wanted to share that over here.

      1. Thanks a lot, and yes, the blog is great. For “addicted” fans like myself this is the best possible way how to share all the excitement coming from following all the matches that Roger plays.

    1. Hey Petr, cheers for the comment. Always cool to get first-time commenters. Of course, I know how many visits my blog gets etc. but I have no idea who is really reading or how often people return.

      2015 vs Mannarino, what a shot. I watched the first set of that match at a music concert. Can’t remember if I saw that half volley when I was walking back or just when I’d got in.

      I guess you did the Laver Cup too?

      1. Ever since I found out about the blog, I visit it every time new topic is posted.
        That shot was great, just before he hit it when I saw the return I expected he would get broken.
        Yes I did Laver Cup last year in Prague – went there with my wife for all three days, got the West Lounge Hospitality tickets – those were our birthday and Christmas presents last year but it was definitely worth it. The best tennis experience ever.
        We also travel with couple of tennis and Roger fans to Stuttgart since 2016 for 1/4 and 1/2finals (in 2017 huge disappointment since Roger went out with Tommy Hass), and last year we also did Basel.
        We are trying to see RF live as often as our time and money allow us because we know that he is not going to play forever. Sometimes I wonder what I will do with all that free time once Roger retires. 🙂

      2. Got it, for some reason it went to comment spam, but I scrolled through all the junk and there it was. Not sure why, it’s not perfect so do get false positives from time to time. I rarely look through and it empties the fodler after 7 days so good job you said.

        Ah cool, bet you had a decent view. I really liked the Laver Cup and Prague, such a well organised event.

  7. Wanda, thank you SO MUCH for sharing your excitement and experience with us. I second what everybody else has said. We get so excited & nervous just to watch on tv or follow the scores, so to be there in person, & for such a momentous win, & to be a part of the amazing crowd energy…. YAAAHHHHHH!!!!!

    1. Exactly Thinker, to share excitement, support and love for Roger with the crowd (almost all there in Basel) was an electrifying experience. Hope all fed fans can get to have an opportunity to see him at least once, too.

  8. Ooh, YES, Wanda – to share the enthusiasm and love for the MAESTRO – yes, these are the very special times in tennis – still on and well – gratefulness is a poor word, but no better exist? I’m sure you soon forget about the hole in your bank account, and there will remain the huge satisfaction and happiness for having done this, to get the possibility for such an experience for life! – After all what is the money for?
    GONGRATULATION, WANDA!

    1. Still wonder how could a tennis player makes me this much emotional. It’s a mystery to me. I wish I was as cool as Jonathan.

  9. A great post, Wanda !
    Thanks for sharing this fan story with us and to Jonathan for hosting it.
    How lucky you are !

    For a few euros 🙂 I suggest you to prepare as a present for yourself, at the bottom of your Christmas tree,  a framed print of your selfie with our champion – the legend could be : “this is my selfie with the greatest sportsman of all times”. 🙂
    Enjoy and cherish those great memories !

    I had planned holidays abroad, away from  Paris (where I live), for the precise week Roger decided to play there – so I missed to watch him live in Bercy… I envy you ! I hope he plays Roland Garros 2019 now …

    1. Yes, French BRF, I’m lucky, perhaps to have a husband who’s humbly accepted being No.2 😆
      Pity that you missed Roger and we missed your Paris fan story!

  10. Oh Wanda, your write-up brought a tear to my eye, it was tremendous. I’ve watched the video three times now, that was a great idea to show us the video. Fed looks so marvellous, I can only imagine how good it was to see him in Real Life. And seeing his family too! You described the atmosphere wonderfully. So amazing that you got to see him playing twice. Thanks very much for this.

    1. Great that you enjoyed the video. Forget about the selfie, I wanted to see him close, I mean in the same ground level. He was like a tree to me as I’m petite 😆

  11. That was a great story, thanks for sharing it. Never been on Basel, but was always impressed with how pristine Zurich and Geneva are. On TV Federer looks slim, but the video really shows it in comparison with normal people. Amazing we ask so much of this guy and he keeps delivering. No matter how many shanked backhands he makes we have no right to complain.

    Had been hugely disappointed with the results in London in 2012, 2015, and 2017 especially I thought he had his best chance with Djokovic and Nadal not playing (and indeed he won the 1st set vs Goffin before the Belgian took over from the baseline).

    London courts always appear slower than Paris to me, but it might be the TV angle ?

    1. Glad you like it, thanks. Yes, Basel is a lovey little city even without the Swiss Indoors. Seen a few cool art scenes in the centre.

  12. Thank you Wanda for sharing your story. It was very enjoyable and must have been an absolute delight. Great choice on your part to spend the small fortune and watch him live, which has been elusive for me.

    1. Roger will be in Japan next year for the exhibition ‘Match for Africa’ with a japanese player, perhaps Kei? Go for it Stuart!

  13. Hey guys, hey Wanda and Jonathan.
    Lovely post! So relatable to me. I am Marijan from Macedonia (probably Jonathan remembers me) and I must say that during this Basel Swiss Indoors 2018 my eyes saw Roger Federer for the first time. I will try to share my story (as short as I can) here.

    So, as I live in Macedonia and don’t earn a lot so I can’t travel to a lot of places to watch Roger. I had to choose place and tournament that I can really go. The closest tournaments to me that Roger plays were Basel and Stuttgart. So I was saving money for two and a half years and finally decided to go to Stuttgart this year. But somewhere in January i got a job so I could’t go on a vacation in June, so my plan for Stuttgart failed.

    So next is Basel. And I knew that I had to go there. So during the US Open this year, at the end of August (when Roger was still in the draw) I bought thickets for the second round in Basel. Even for the second round the thickets were not cheap, but I bought them because i HAD to watch him. I was just praying that he will just go through first round and that will be all that I need. So I bought tickets for the tournament, booked a plane and a hotel and told all my friends that my dream was gonna come true. I was gonna go there alone and nothing was going to stop me. So between me and Roger were just two months time. The next day (morning) he lost in US Open to Milman. I was disappointed (as all of us), but I was telling myself: Who cares, you are going to watch him soon live!. So, after the day he lost in USO, a friend of mine texted me while I was at work, saying: Hey, Roger just finished his year! He is not competing anymore, he injured himself and is going to take a rest! Oooohh that was a bad joke… At first i believed, and my heart just went crazy, but then I googled it and nothing was there. Btw, my friend payed for that bad joke.

    So for two months I believed that something was going to go the wrong path and I was never going to see him. Finally, the draw was out and it was Krajinovic in the first round (kinda tricky, I thought, cos he was playing good last year at this time with the final in Paris, but he should’t be a problem for Roger in the first round of his favorite Basel), and then it should be Millman, the match that I was supposed to watch (and get a revenge for the lost in the USA). I watched Milman-Struff match and just loved how powerful was Struf and knew that Roger will have quite problems but at least it will be fun. And then Federer- Krajinovic match… I dont know how many times my heart stoped during that match. My luggage was packed for the flight next day, but I also, the same as Wanda, thought that it will be wonderful tourist travel stay in Basel.

    Luckily, he survived, and so did I. Next few days were just magical, Walking through Basel in a wonderful weather (Wanda, those first days in the week of the tournament were great, sunny and warm, unlike the weekend), sightseeing and enjoying the food and wonderful architecture of the Old City. I got there in Wednesday, and I had the thickets for Thursday but leaving Basel in Friday. The city was beautiful, like no other city i was before. Switzerland is just out of this World. But, so was the tournament and the day that I saw Roger. I was enjoying the game watching Zverev, Tsitsipas, Simon, Bautista, Gulbis and all the other guys, had a place up in the sector C3 with a great view.

    And then in was time for Federer-Struf. My heart just start to go faster as the lights go out and the crowd was standing and cheering, and I just got goosebumps when I saw him, there, walking in glory and in pride, as he deserves. The air was just different because, I was breathing the same air that he was. And that was enough. The match didn’t start well but when he found his way back and when he won the break back I was up, screaming and cheering as every other fan there was. And then he won. Watching his magnificence can not be described. I am just glad that i lived that for that moment.

    Got a lot of pics (Could’t find him for selfi) and went from the wonderful St. Jacobshalle happier then ever and thinking: This will not be the last time I am watching him! And that was a promise myself. I know i don’t have much time left, so I gotta get every chance I can. I hope this was not to much for you, but I just had to share it. (Btw, I was writing this while watchin Roger-Nishikor, and I am not happy with the result :/. I kinda had a feeling that he just was not there) Cheers , guys!

    1. Marijan, how lovely to hear from you, and thank you for your little mini-story! I’m so glad it worked out for you- I have seen sometimes where somebody made a special trip, and he lost early or withdrew with injury, and not everybody can go again another time – as you said it was a major savings undertaking. Sounds like the energy was amazing just as Wanda described 🙂

      1. Hey Thinker, thank you! I was lucky that everything went out great at the end. Energy was fantastic! I couldn’t choose better place to watch Roger playing for the first time, then Basel! Cheers 🙂

    2. Wow, what an awesome story. There is NOTHING like seeing Fed live!! When he walks on court, it’s like a dream, isn’t it? So happy for you and anyone that has had the chance to experience that.
      The Nishikori loss doesn’t seem so bad now, lol.

      1. That really was dream coming true! Every loss since then (against Djokovic and Nishikori) hurts less now. 😀 Hope that there will not be more loses this year!

    3. Oh thanks, Marijan, that was a great story, so descriptive of actually being there in the stadium with Federer and the other fans.
      I hope you manage to see him again.

    4. Hey Marijan,

      Yeah I rememebr exchanging emails a while back 🙂

      Two Basel fan stories in one post! Very cool you got to see him for the first time thanks for sharing.

    5. Hi Marijan, very sorry for the late reply as I was away but thank you for your story as well. And welcome to the PT community!
      Great that you loved the first Fedexperience at his home! As much as I was happy for myself watching Fed live, I’m happy for you, too. “The air was just different because, I was breathing the same air that he was. And that was enough.” – hahaha, so true. Just being at the tournament where Fed is in, we are all on cloud nine 😀

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close