Behind the ‘raw’ photo of Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal that captures their enduring friendship, comes the story of Roger’s last visit to his beloved hometown, where he visited to receive the honorary citizenship he was awarded in 2001.
We’ve been talking for months about the way the two tennis stars have become “brothers” (as they’re already referred to) in the same breath.
And Nadal has come back to New York to pay his respects – along with the rest of the tennis establishment – to one of his heroes.
In March 2000, Federer visited Puerto Rico for the first time in his life.
It was the first time anyone besides the family had visited since World War II.
From left, Rafa Nadal of Spain, Roger Federer of Switzerland and brother, Nick, of the Federers at the press conference for the Federecognition ceremony at the Capitol in Santurce in Puerto Rico. Credit:AP
Roger had a brief layover in New York to receive his award, then flew to Puerto Rico to visit his family.
“It was a beautiful trip for me, spending time with my family,” he said soon after arriving in the US.
“It means a great deal to me to have these days with my brother Nick and dad visit and to be able to visit here in Puerto Rico.
“You can’t imagine the joy that they have in seeing their brother, and I, again. It was a great experience, and I really enjoyed it.”
By that point in his life, Federer had been living in Switzerland since December 1994, following his divorce from Victoria.
The Federecognition ceremony was a ceremony where Roger was awarded his honorary Puerto Rican citizenship. Credit:AP
It was the first time the ceremony had ever taken place outside of the US, but it brought renewed attention to Roger and his “brother”.
It’s one of the reasons why Federer wanted to be there