Roger Federer Says He Doesn't Know How He'd Have Handled Social Media Scrutiny as Young Tennis Star

·2 min read
Roger Federer
Roger Federer

Clive Brunskill/Getty Images Roger Federer

Roger Federer knows the challenges that come with a life in the spotlight — and realizes that the rise of social media has made it even more difficult for some athletes.

In an interview with GQ, published on Monday, Federer was asked about the pressure that younger tennis stars face, particularly noting teenage superstar Emma Raducanu, who just won the women's singles tournament at the US Open.

Prior to the US Open, Raducanu had withdrawn from her fourth-round match at Wimbledon after having difficulty breathing and saying the experience "caught up" with her.

"I was following Emma Raducanu's incredible run in Wimbledon and also Naomi Osaka these last few years — it's been amazing, both of their stories," Federer, 40, said. "But it hurts when you see what happens and when they don't feel well. The stress is so great."

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The Swiss star continued, "And I think a lot has to be down to social media: the first 10 years of my life there was no social media, maybe I had just a website, then the next 10 years social media was everywhere."

Osaka previously withdrew from two of this year's Grand Slams, citing her mental health and the pressure of participating in all of the media requirements surrounding the tournaments.

Federer also told GQ he feels that "the press situation does need to be reconsidered."

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"I think players, the tournaments, journalists, we need to sit down together in a room and go, 'OK, what would work for you and what works for us ...' " the decorated athlete said. "We need a revolution. Or at least an evolution of where we are today. I think we do need to help, coach and mentor the younger generation more."

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Personally, Federer said he couldn't "imagine going through the beginning of my career with social media; I have no clue how I would have handled it. For every 10 nice comments, there's always one negative comment and, of course, that is the one you focus on. It's a horrible situation."

He noted that people tend to forget that even though tennis players "are athletes and professionals," they "are also human too."

Last month, Federer — who withdrew from a number of high-profile tournaments, including the French Open and the Tokyo Olympics this year — explained he would not be participating in the US Open.

He said in a video message that he will be out of the game for "many months" due to an upcoming knee surgery.

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