MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIAIn a tearful admission following his seventh Grand Slam title at the Australian Open Sunday, Roger Federer told members of the press that, while he "like[s] tennis okay," there are at least three other sports he would rather be playing or watching.
"Tennis is all well and good, and yes, I'm great at it, and sure, I've made millions of dollars playing this sport, but when you get right down to it, it's just a game of human Pong," Federer said. "On the rare occasion that I hear the roar of the crowd during one of my matches, I like to pretend I've just hurdled into the end zone, or sank a three-pointer at the buzzer, or hit a home run to win the game."
"Just the thought of all the exciting moments that can happen in other sports is enough to make me want to give up tennis, buy a big-screen TV, and sit at home all day watching ESPN Classic for the rest of my life," added Federer, placing his Australian Open trophy where it wouldn't obscure his signed photo of Cal Ripken Jr.
While tennis is the most important sport to Federer's livelihood, he admitted that he follows baseball, football, and basketball far more closely.
"I couldn't even tell you who the No. 1 ranked tennis player in the world is right now," Federer said. "It's probably me, still. It is, isn't it? That's so weird when you think about how I don't really care one way or another."
Federer, known for his reserved, unemotional style of play on the court, said his famous "stoicism" is usually just his mind wandering off to thoughts about that night's NBA schedule, or whether it would be worth it to purchase the MLB Extra Innings cable package.
"People always assume I'm concentrating on the match, but how can you concentrate on tennis when there are literally 10 football games being played at the same time? It takes all my mental faculties to not run off the court and try to find a TV," Federer said. "Thank God the [Australian Open] finals didn't fall on Super Bowl Sunday. I might have had to forfeit."
After a teary-eyed Federer accepted the Australian Open trophy from tennis icon Rod Laver, the last man to sweep all four Grand Slam events in the same year, he attributed his uncharacteristic show of emotion to his sudden on-court realization that he will probably never become a major-league baseball player.
"Sure, Rod Laver is my heromy tennis hero," Federer said. "But if I had the opportunity to just meetnever mind receive an award fromKen Griffey Jr., Troy Aikman, or Michael Jordan, I would be so much more thrilled."
"No offense to Rod Laver, who was a great tennis player and is probably a very nice guy," Federer added.
Federer, who blames his inability to bring home a French Open title on the fact that it usually falls right in the midst of the NBA postseason when he has other priorities, has also begun to take a liking to golf and often catches himself practicing his swing between sets.
"Golf is a lot like tennis in that it requires immense focus and concentration, but ultimately it's so much more relaxing and rewarding than two guys hitting a ball back and forth for hours on end," Federer said. "One more 90-degree day on clay courts, and I might just consider joining the PGA Tour."
Federer added that, while he doesn't technically consider stock-car racing a "sport," he finds it "much more exhilarating and interesting than tennis" and would "happily trade in all the Wimbledons in the world for a chance to ride shotgun in a Chevy Monte Carlo at Daytona with [his] idol Kurt Busch."