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Roger Federer features in the April 2017 issue of GQ magazine in a piece titled: 'Peak Federer.'

Peak Federer: Roger Opens Up To GQ

In-form Swiss superstar features in magazine profile

Roger Federer welcomes the April 2017 issue of GQ magazine to his mountain top home in Switzerland to talk about his life off the court and just how much longer he feels he can pull off the impossible.

Hell, for Roger Federer, is talking about life after tennis. For years now, the questions have crept in as Federer, 35 and troubled by injuries, seemed to be drifting off the court. Reporters demanded to know: When will you stop? What comes next? Maybe a farewell tour before you wander away into the Alps? All the sporting world seemed to want, after nearly two decades of idol worship, was a forwarding address for where to send a thank-you note.

But then, a few months ago, something happened. Something extraordinary. Defying all expectations, Federer won this year's Australian Open. His 18th major title (the most ever for a man in his sport) and his first Grand Slam in five years. Among the 18, this one was special. “Perhaps the most special,” he told me. It came after he'd taken a months-long break, his first significant time away from tennis since he was a teenager, in part because of a knee injury he'd suffered during the last Australian Open (while drawing his daughters a bath, of all things), but also because he'd been feeling worn out. So to return at his age, after no competitive matches for months, and triumph over his greatest rival, Rafael Nadal, on one of the sport's grandest stages… The feeling was ecstasy.

FedererIt couldn't have come at a more pivotal moment. Early in the tournament, during an on-court interview, Federer acknowledged his underdog status — reminding fans that the only thing he'd won lately was GQ's Most Stylish Man (an online competition in which readers carried him to victory over Kanye West and Ryan Gosling). “At least I won something,” he said wryly, referring to a 14-month trophy drought—and this from a guy whose life is essentially predicated on winning, shattering records with no grunts, no sweat: 302 weeks as world number one. In many eyes, the GOAT. Still, as the 17 seed in Melbourne, he'd known he didn't have a shot. To reach the quarterfinals would have been a success. But then it happened.

“Winning Australia, it solves so many problems,” he said. And so, feeling generous, perhaps a little insulated by success, he extended an invitation for a visit. High up at his retreat in Switzerland, just five days after the final, to talk about tennis and not-tennis, at this beginning of yet another chapter in his career. He didn't just quiet the hecklers by winning — he changed the narrative. Millions of fans got to feel a story line shift under their feet, and Federer felt it, too. So who is he? What is he? I went to the mountains to find out, at the same time equipped with the single question he'd least want to answer, the one that keeps his fans twitching like so many addicts between hits: After all these years of pulling off the impossible, how many more could we really expect?

Read Full Piece, 'Peak Federer.' In April 2017 Issue

Story excerpted with permission of GQ magazine.

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