Tennis star Federer feels the pinch after Swiss franc reevaluation

Roger Federer of Switzerland wipes sweat from his brow as he signs autographs after he defeated John Millman of Australia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament January 8, 2015. — Reuters pic
Roger Federer of Switzerland wipes sweat from his brow as he signs autographs after he defeated John Millman of Australia at the Brisbane International tennis tournament January 8, 2015. — Reuters pic

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DAVOS, Jan 20 — Last week’s decision by the Swiss National Bank to scrap its currency cap with the euro not only roiled global markets, it’s also being felt in the pockets of Roger Federer.

 

The Swiss franc jumped as much as 41 per cent against the euro, while climbing more than 15 per cent against all of the more than 150 currencies tracked by Bloomberg after the SNB’s surprise announcement last week to scrap its three-year-old policy.

Switzerland’s Federer, the holder of a men’s record 17 tennis majors, joked with reporters at the Australian Open that the change increases the pressure on him to add victories.

“Does it mean I’ve got to win now?” Federer said in a news conference yesterday in Melbourne when asked about the move in the currency.

The franc has strengthened about 10 per cent against the Australian dollar compared to last year’s Australian Open. The 33-year-old Federer, a four-time champion at the season’s opening major, is trying to become the oldest major winner since Ken Rosewall in 1972.

“It definitely had a big impact all around the world, right?” Federer said after he advanced with a straight-sets win at Melbourne Park. “Clearly it had an impact on me, too, no doubt about it. Things were going up all the time, so it’s normal to have it reset.”

He’ll play Simone Bolelli of Italy in the second round.

Federer, his wife Mirka and their two sets of twins recently moved into a glass mansion on the shores of Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

Biggest earner

Federer is the biggest earner in his sport with a record US$88.7 million (RM316.24 million) in prize money alone. He makes more than US$56 million a year both on and off the court from endorsements with companies including Nike Inc., Credit Suisse Group AG and Rolex Group.

He said he was concerned about the impact on the Swiss economy.

“The way it was done, maybe there were some question marks behind that because nobody saw it coming,” he said. “For export or tourism it’s not ideal, but we’ll see how we’ll adjust to it now. Still think it’s a wonderful place to visit, so please come.” — Bloomberg

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