Former British tennis player James Ward has revealed he saved Roger Federer as ‘Geezer’ on his phone, all thanks to Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka.
All-time sports legend Federer has announced he will be retiring from tennis after the Laver Cup next week, calling for an extraordinary career.
The Swiss superstar is a 20-time Grand Slam winner and holds the record for most men’s titles at Wimbledon and will leave the sport with a monumental reputation.
Part of his iconic legacy around the world is due to his status off the pitch, with an adorable reputation as an athlete who epitomizes the word “class”.
The 41-year-old has charmed audiences with his on-camera interviews, but also his fellow players, as revealed by Ward.
The Davis Cup champion and former British No.2 trained with the Swiss great in Dubai and revealed to talkSPORT why he gave him such a brilliant nickname.
Asked by Drivetime host Andy Goldstein about Federer’s name in his contact book, Ward said: “He’s actually ‘Geezer’.
“We were in Dubai and I’m an Arsenal fan and we were talking about [fellow Swiss athlete] Xhaka and I believe it was around the time he caused carnage and was walking away [sarcastically] cheering the fans when everyone was booing him.
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“I asked him about Xhaka and I was like, ‘What kind of guy is that because I’m not his biggest fan right now?
“And he was like ‘no, he’s a nice guy, I’ve met him a couple of times and I had to mention ‘geezer’ a few times and he was like ‘what’s that word you don’t stop not to use ‘geezer’?
“‘Damn you know, he’s a guy, he’s a guy,’ and he thought that was the funniest thing.
“He’s a bit clumsy with it and ever since then every time you see him he’s screaming ‘damn! and is obsessed with the word, so if anyone sees him scream geezer and you’re guaranteed to laugh.
Speaking further about Federer’s retirement, Ward added: “It’s no secret, it’s probably been happening for a while.
“I think he did his best to rehabilitate himself and come back and give everyone the final send-off he wanted, especially at Wimbledon, that would have been a good way to retire.
“But maybe a different injury happened in the meantime and he wasn’t able to do it and obviously it’s a sad day.”