Roger Federer had ‘breakdown’ after rioting during Bogota tour
Swiss broke down in tears after match against Alexander Zverev called off in Colombia
An aerial view of Roger Federer’s exhibition match against Alexander Zverev in the Plaza de Toros bullring in Mexico City during his South American tour last month. Photograph: Madla Hartz/EPA
Roger Federer admits he broke down with emotion during last month’s tour of Mexico and South America after rioting in the Colombian capital Bogota forced him to cancel his exhibition match against Germany’s Alexander Zverev.
The 38-year-old’s five-country tour is covered in broadcaster ESPN’s candid documentary “Roger Federer: Everywhere is Home” which will air on December 17th.
It charts the 20-times grand slam champion’s journey, including the history-making match in Mexico City bullring when a 42,517 delirious fans watched him take on Zverev – a record crowd for a tennis match.
One of the most memorable segments of the documentary comes in Bogota when large scale demonstrations and riots led to a curfew imposed by the government, shortly before Federer and Zverev were supposed to start their match.
With a huge crowd already present, Federer reluctantly decided the situation was not safe. Footage shows Federer walking back to his locker room where he broke down in tears and was hugged by Zverev.
“We went to warm up and were having a blast on the court, but then everything started to get a bit crazy,” Federer said. “I was thinking is this the best scenario? Because people need to get home and be safe and this was honestly when I knew we shouldn’t play, it was too much stress and pressure for everybody.
“I had a bit of a breakdown. It was not going to be the dream match it was supposed to have been and I could feel it all falling apart at the end. When I came back [to the locker room] I was emotionally wasted.”
Throughout Federer’s illustrious career, visits to South America have been rare with few big tournaments held there. His tour took in Chile, Argentina, Colombia, Ecuador and Mexico.