Tennis star Roger Federer knows what it means to be a champion.
He’s won 99 ATP tour trophies and scored victories at Wimbledon, the French Open, the US Open and the Australian Open. But moreover, the Swiss sports phenom has the heart of a champion as well. Why? Because the superstar doesn’t forget his roots in the sport.
Before his monster serves and sideline strokes made him a tennis legend, Federer was a ball boy on the courts. Ball boys and girls are those lightning-fast kids who retrieve tennis balls that players hit into the net or out of bounds (blink and you might miss them!).
To honor those kids who continue this tradition, Federer hosts a pizza party for them following his wins at the Swiss Indoor ATP Tournament.
Federer started this post-tournament winning tradition over a dozen years ago, which includes pizza and medals for all the ball boys and girls who work at the event, which is held in Basel, Switzerland, every year.
Back in 1993, Federer served as an 11-year-old ball boy during the final match between Stefan Edberg and Michael Stitch. Fast-forward to 2018, where Federer won his 99th ATP title on the Basel courts and he celebrated in style — first, at the trophy ceremony, as he triumphantly displayed in a photo on his Instagram account:
And later with the kids who helped make the tournament run smoothly. There’s nothing like grabbing a slice of pizza with hardworking tennis pros, and Federer looked like he loved every second of his time with the kids!
Well played, Mr. Federer!