Fan StoriesRoger Federer

Fan Story: Sleepless For Seattle aka Match for Africa 4

This is a fan story from Sue. Enjoy!

How lucky am I to see Roger Federer play again this year. Seattle is a three hour trip from where I live. We left early to enjoy the day in Seattle and not feel rushed. The border can be a long wait at times as well. Got to Seattle in good time for a picnic lunch and walk overlooking the city.


Then off to Seattle Center where the Key Arena is. This is where there was a world’s fair back in the sixties hence the iconic space needle. Creeping around the back of the arena, we were watching the tinted windowed black SUVs arrive with the VIPs. Saw Tony Godsick pull in. Think we just missed the man though. The people who had VIP tickets – 1500 USD were in the arena for a meet and greet with Roger and Isner.


The crowds were building, RF hats bobbing in the masses. Lots to do and see around this area of town. Getting close to countdown. We want to get in the arena in plenty of time.

The night started with a Hendrix-style rendition of the national anthem by Pearl Jam lead guitarist, Mike McCready. He was Isner’s surprise doubles partner. The MC is the one at Indian Wells. Announcing the players came a HUGE roar from the crowd. Time to party. Bill Gates, the hometown boy, got just as big a reception as Fed. I’m thinking the Federers stayed at the Gates compound on the lake.

match for afric 4 doubles

Just before the start, Mirka and Mary Joe Fernandez skittered across the court to their seats. No kids in tow, is that a first? Match for Africa t-shirts on sale but I’m happy with my RF18 one I got at IW.

The whole evening pretty well is online, but one doesn’t get the rush from seeing Fed live. I sit in my seat and look down at the court and think…there he is….is this really happening. I’m such an unashamed groupie.

Fed Gates

The doubles was fun and Gates hit a few good winners. Bill just about got set on fire as he entered the arena. I guess no one told him about the fire breathing boxes on the court set to ignite as he walked passed. Mike McCready was terrified with many double faults leaving his racket. Fun doubles all round.

A small break in the action and on to the main attraction. Fed changed into his FO? gear. Blue shorts, cream polo and red shoes. Love the black racket too. Another roar from the crowd and off we go for a best of three. Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to see the highlights. Isner not serving too big. Roger mostly slice returns. Some great rallies, awesome tweeter point! Loved Fed’s little flick backhands throughout the match. Very effective.

There was a maniac dancing in the aisles ripping off RF t-shirts and throwing them to the crowd. A total party atmosphere. Quite different from the polite applause in Zurich!

The camera man had no clue about filming a tennis match. Right beside Fed when he was serving. He finally got the hint and ended up hiding behind the player’s bench with Roger peeking at him. What a dork.

It was such a fun atmosphere. Everyone was having a blast. Isner was great, a good sport to lose in two. I was hoping for a third set but figured that wasn’t going to happen. One of the staff told us if we wanted an autograph, to head down to courtside after the match. By the time we watched the post match interviews, we were too late to get close enough. Roger signed for quite awhile but when the crowd started to get aggressive, he walked away.

Fed did look tired, twelve-hour time difference. More on court interviews and he waved to the crowd and was gone.

A late night drive home feeling once again like I won the lottery.

The Roger Federer Foundation raised two million USD that night. How good is that?

Footnote: Meanwhile, across the pond. Rafa is tucked snugly into bed dreaming of biting another trophy.



Editor of Perfect Tennis and a big fan of Roger Federer, I've spent countless hours watching and analysing his matches. Alongside playing the sport, I also enjoy writing about the tour, rackets, strings, and the technicalities of the game. Whether it's breaking down the latest tournament results or discussing the latest gear innovations, I'm always eager to share my insights with fellow tennis enthusiasts.

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  1. Love that footnote…Watched in facebook live…Glad to read about another pleasant trip you enjoyed..

  2. Hi Sue: So glad you wrote your report! It was lovely as usual. Thanks for that!

    So jealous that you could go to see the exo but even more so that you found a RF 18 shirt at IW! I flew 8,000 miles to see Fed in 2015, and could find no Federer paraphanalia to buy!

  3. Hey Sue, great that you had such a fun evening live. Envy you seeing him twice already this year. The show was indeed fun even watching on screen. Loads of crazy shots and points from him and his smile…ahhh πŸ˜€ Noticed his purple shoes matched the outfit? Loved them!
    Thanks a lot for the story!

  4. Thanks for sharing Sue it’s amazing how these exhos are so worthwhile as a fan experience, Fed has the Xfactor in everything he does and the fund raising is admirable and gives him purpose post the tour ….winner any way you look at him .

  5. It was nice that they broadcast this on fb. Hey Wanda, the shoes were red for the new gear. The others I don’t believe were purple.
    Yup, super fun day. FO just around the corner.

    1. Sue, I meant the shoes he’s wearing in the pic you took, the above, during FedGate doubles match. Hum, weren’t they lilac or lavender purple? My wishful vision? πŸ˜†

      1. Hmm. Can’t remember. I think it would have been the shoes in Jonathan’s previous post re Outfit for Madrid, etc? I wasn’t too focused on the feet.

  6. I know it’s off topic, but what do you guys/girls think about Djokovic’s move to sack his long life coach?
    I’d say it won’t help much. He’s obviously not motivated enough – changing a coach won’t solve that.

    1. The move could be interpreted in a number of ways. I try not to think about Djokovic because he makes my head hurt. He is always surrounded by unnecessary drama along with his loudmouth, obsessive fans. It looks like Federer has picked up another sponsor. Federer is an example of never having unnecessary drama detracting on or off court.

      1. Yea, Rog always parts with coaches in good spirit when must part. And neither Djoko or BB are spirits of my choice. Agree with you, Karen, not worth speculating about Djoko’s eventual lack of this and that. Enough with our lacking the RF excitement a little while still!

    1. Hi Sue, to answer your question about Djoko Guru…just read in Blick that Djoko is to keep his Guru. However, one never knows how much truth there is to what you read!
      Thank You for your Roger story, was great to read, you are so lucky to be able to see Roger play LIVE….I watched the match on Tennis Channel, enjoyed the entire evening of tennis

  7. Looks like you had an awesome time Sue!! Thanks for the amazing story. That tweener was just ridiculous, given what a low lob that was and how quickly that ball was moving away from Federer (it’s probably one of the tougher tweeners attempted – the ball trajectory reminded me of the crazy flick young Fed hit against Agassi back in the day).

    By the way, do you guys think we should have a thread discussing whether Fed should play Roland Garros? It’d be interesting to hear different view points. MIght get some unexpected perspectives (fan bias aside :p )

      1. Why do people believe he will lose?

        The problem was always Federer’s mentality against Nadal, not clay and not even Nadal himself. Federer was always seeing the backhand as a weakness that he had to hide and protect, not as the weapon he needed to beat Nadal. Now that that’s changed, everything’s changed.

        There is nothing uncanny or demonic about any of this, and never was. Clay is just a surface. Nadal is just a player. Offense beats defense. Federer has all the shots he needs to win, and if he uses them, he will win, Nadal or no Nadal.

        Nadal is expert at building up this image of robotic unstoppability that causes most of his opponents to concede before the first ball is struck. Federer fans ought not to fall for it.

        Nothing to fear but fear itself.

      2. Probably because clay is noticeably slower than other surfaces, and benefits movement sideways over forward? Probably because attacking tennis is generally dulled in slower conditions? Maybe because, even discounting nadal, Federer has recently struggled on the surface to attack with as much commitment? Maybe even because, at the end of the day, Nadal has 9 titles at the French and Federer has 1, and hasn’t exactly gone and reached 8 finals that he’s lost, so the record does speak for itself? Or maybe because before Federer mentally lost it, nadal won their first meeting on clay convincingly, as a 19 year old?

        I mean, I think he has a shot. But to attribute it to “if he gets his head right, he’ll win” is pretty dismissive of Nadal’s record.

      1. If he doesn’t care about rankings then the points will matter little to him. The only question is whether he thinks he has a shot at the title. Yes – if Nadal breaks a leg.

      2. Federer is still in Dubai. He had no intention of playing on clay this season or possibly the rest of his career. The story about asking for some cans of Babolat RG balls is fake news. I think Federer will not play the French Open and is just waiting. Everything Federer has done this clay season by not playing any tournaments and not practicing on clay points to that. I will be shocked if he plays the FO. His schedule is setup to play everywhere but clay.

      1. This was a long time coming. He was with his “doctors” throughout the his vacation and reaching the AO and IW finals was ample warning sign that he would do well on clay. He was playing the ball really early on those faster hard courts, so imaging the damage he would do on the slower clay?

  8. Federer beats Nadal

    Nadal beats Djokovic

    Everyone beats Murray

    Djokovic looks skinnier every time I see him. Ok for yoga but not for tennis.

  9. There’s actually a pretty good chance that Nadal’s going to run out of steam by the French. My money’s on a pre-semi upset. You read it here peeps!!

  10. Rafa just won Madrid and even had an ear infection, does he ever not have some medical issue as a fall back or when he wins, showing just how much pain or ill health he suffers for his success?
    This year is classic Rafa so far & who would have predicted Nolandy injured & slumping.

    Roger should just think of his knee, energy& health and do what he wants to do he has given plenty and been more consistent & actually turned up & completed more matches than his major opponents in a super long career.
    Nothing to prove & he shouldn’t be dragged in to save the clay season if he’s not up for it & feeling great, only to potentially jeopardise later opps.
    Roger missed a cold, claggy, wet disaster at RG last year & slow, heavy courts are hardly his forte, there are probably far more cons than pros in him playing.
    Just have to trust Roger to make wise decisions at this stage of his career, even though he would be a welcome presence given we’ve seen the repetitios Rafa show more times than I need to anyway! No doubt his fans and the pundits enjoy the easy King of Clay narrative to spin. I just wish instead of Nastase lurking in defiance of tennis bosses Tiriac had re installed the blue clay….that might have added some excitement lol.
    Hope Thiem or someone new clinches the title in Rome!

    1. I need to get a bigger tv screen: I can’t follow the game when Nadal is playing from the stands. Thiem did pretty well, considering that 137kph forehands were not fast enough to find a gap in the court that Nadal couldn’t get to. Not so much tennis as play station. I am sure after that experience Thiem can’t wait to play tennis again, and not meet again soon the exercise in futility he has now endured two weeks running.

    1. Really? Some of you are shocked that Federer is not playing the FO after having knee surgery and missing the rest of the season after Wimbledon. His knee surgery doesn’t allow him to play on clay anymore. He returned on clay last year and he said his knee didn’t feel right.

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