Hey guys, a couple of weeks back I got sent a fan story through from Antonio, a big Federer fan from Macedonia, who was lucky enough to watch Roger play against Serbia in the Davis Cup earlier this year. I didn't post it immediately as Shanghai was just about to start but here it is, it's a great piece and one I'm sure that resonates with fans both young and old who have had the pleasure of seeing Fed play live. Enjoy!
It was few days before the 2013 Davis Cup final. The draw for the 2014 Davis Cup World Group was made; and the tie was Serbia vs Switzerland in the first round.
I knew that Serbia will choose to play at home. I'm from Macedonia and I thought this will be my chance to meet Roger. After the 2014 Australian Open there was still a chance that he would not play because he was tired from tournament and he would need time to rest for the upcoming tournaments Dubai and Indian Wells.
Still there was no confirmation whether he would play or not. I bought the tickets one week before the series because Stan confirmed he would play, I was happy because I could meet him at least.
It was Wednesday and the matches started on Friday yet there was still no information for Roger. Some said he would play, others said no, so there was no confirmation. I came back from school that day and my phone started to vibrate. I checked and saw that one of my friends and a big fan of Roger messaged me to say that he saw on the internet that Roger will play. I was thinking there was no chance it must be rumours. We chat a couple of times and as I'm closing the chat, the first thing that I saw on timeline on Facebook was confirmation by Roger himself that he is going to play. I was like NO WAY!!
I start screaming, crying, jumping around the house, I scared my parents because they didn't know what was happening. I felt something that I have never felt before.
In Serbia that week, the weather was horrible and was only getting wors. Snow, wind, cold. There were places where the snow was 2 meters high. But that was in North Serbia and luckily it wasn't as bad in Novi Sad. Me and my parents decided to go.
Then came the 31st January 2014 Friday. The happiest day in my life. We packed up and we left at 4am. Because of the weather and the traffic we arrived in Novi Sad at 11am and the match was starting at 1pm. We left our bags at the hotel room and went to Spens Arena for the matches. Me and my mother entered the arena with Federer fans from Switzerland, about 200 were there and they were all wearing caps, t-shirts, coats signed from Federer.
I bought a big tennis ball and marker hoping that I will get autograph from Roger. We go to our seats and I was so excited. While waiting for the players to step on the court, Pascal Maria appeared. I was happy because I saw one of the best umpires in Tennis world.
After 15-20 minutest the ceremony started. First came the Serbian national team and then one after another the players from the Switzerland team started to arrive on court. While I was waiting for Roger to appear on court i was thinking… is this happening or am I dreaming?
Roger walked on court last and when he showed up the crowd went nuts. When I saw him I started crying, smiling, jumping. He played against Bozoljac and his game was on highest level. He was poetry in motion. He was like a ballet dancer. He was like ice-skater on ice. He was moving so smoothly, gently, gracious, his forehand the best shot in our sport was flowing, lighting up the court and the crowd, the backhand was so good, beautiful to watch, then half volleys and after all that there was his serve back at the level from his prime. He won the match 6-4 7-5 6-2.
After the match was over he had an interview on court. I took like about 1000 photos and 10-15 videos. After the interview he came back to sign autographs. I was standing behind the fence and was feeling like I was in jail and the person I love and respect the most was on the other side of the bars. I wanted to grab him and hug him. I wanted to tell him how much he means to me, how big inspiration was he for me. Watching him in live, watching all the matches on TV, interviews on internet gave me hope that I can succeed in tennis and in life.
The first autograph that he signed in whole arena was the autograph he wrote on my tennis ball. We handshake and I said: “Thank you Roger” and he replied “No problem” and his was smiling and happy that he had the chance to make the people happy.
He took my marker and signed almost every autograph in the arena. He was trying to sign as many autographs as he could. When shookhands I felt something that can't be said with words and can't be bought with all the money in the world. I knew that now my life wish was achieved and can live happy knowing that I met my idol, my inspiration, my good and my example how one person should be like. He was always there for his fans and we will always be there for him.
What he does on court and off court, there's no one else like him. He is the best ever not just like player, but as person as well. I hope that one day I'll have chance to see him again and we can talk a little bit.
After his match I stayed and watch Stan and he also won his match against Lajovic. It was like 9 hours in the arena. I have so many memories from that day, much more than people have for all life. He gave so much, that we can only thank him if we are with him forever no matter what.
That night we slept in hotel and I slept with the ball that night. The day after we came back to Macedonia. I told the story to my friends and they were so happy for me. The ball is now in special box made from glass and the ball for me is what the Cross is for a church. Tennis is my religion and Federer is my god. This was my story.