Twenty-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer is unfortunately not in Melbourne Park for the Australian Open after retiring last September – and the vision of what he’s been up to proves he couldn’t be further from the tennis bubble.
The 41-year-old has instead immersed himself in the art world, previewing a yet-to-be-released documentary that shows him hanging from the ceiling wearing only his underpants and a black bathing cap.
But why, you ask?
Roger Federer, photographed with his wife Mirka at a fashion event in Paris earlier this month, has made a stunning move after his retirement
Roger Federer was suspended from the ceiling in a suit of armor wearing only his underwear as part of a new art installation that highlights the figure of the Swiss star
For an upcoming art exhibition by renowned Swiss artist and sculptor Ugo Rondinone titled ‘Cloud Six’.
Federer was placed in a series of bizarre poses while suspended from the ceiling in a harness so that his body could be captured as a 3D figure through a high-tech scanner.
At one point, he spent hours in a full-body mold while also having his entire face covered in silicone.
Most retired tennis legends would go on to the commentary circuit for the grand slams, or charge a lot of money as a speaker, but Federer said he wanted to get off those typical paths and challenge himself.
Ever the legend, he’s not content to rest on his laurels.
Federer can also be seen wearing a swimming cap in the documentary sneak peak, where his entire body is scanned and turned into a mold
Roger Federer retired in September 2022 after winning 20 grand slam titles, including the 2017 Wimbledon Championship (pictured)
The Swiss made it clear at the time that he wanted to spend time with his family – which is why he didn’t travel down to attend the Australian Open, despite being asked by organizers.
So instead he takes himself way out of his comfort zone.
“This new experience gave me the chance to push myself out of my comfort zone and opened my eyes to learn the intricate processes of creating art,” he said on a trailer for the documentary, titled “Portrait of a Champion,” which was presented by investment banker Credit Suisse in conjunction with NBCUniversal Catalyst Showcases.
‘I was surprised how much energy art gave me. I didn’t think that would happen to me… it’s a switch from my daily life. It’s peaceful.
“I think it’s really important to do other things, not just run after a fuzzy tennis ball.
‘I enjoy working with Ugo. Super nice guy, great artist, very wise – he has a heart of gold.
“So to spend time with him and learn from his art, I really enjoyed it.”
Since entering his final tournament – a star-studded Laver Cup – in September and leaving the field in tears, Federer has transitioned seamlessly to a more casual, albeit social, life.
He was recently photographed with his wife Mirka alongside Vogue fashion icon Anna Wintour and Aussie director Baz Luhrmann at a fashion event in Paris.
He also played some NBA games and continued his immense charity work.
Those would definitely have been on the retirement bingo card as opposed to hanging from a harness in his underwear.
Roger Federer (left) and wife Mirka (right) at a fashion event in Paris with Vogue icon Anna Wintour (second from left) and Australian director Baz Luhrmann (second from right)
Federer also took part in an NBA game between the Nets and Celtics last December after retiring from tennis
When asked how the process of turning into an art installation made him feel, a typically mild-mannered Federer admitted that it was difficult at times; but he always had the end goal in mind.
“Of course you feel vulnerable … you know everyone is watching you and filming you,” Federer said, describing the process behind the art installation.
“I’m used to it on a tennis court, but there I have my racket, which is like my hammer from Thor, I have my outfit that resembles my uniform, my favorite shoes, my headband and then I’m good to go… and if someone is filming you, that’s no problem.
“In your underwear in a harness, and hanging there, is a different situation.
“(But) it’s part of the creative process, which is what it takes to get a good end result,” Federer said.
Roger Federer, who has mastered all surfaces during his career of 20 Grand Slam titles, is considered by many to be the greatest male player of all time
The art was installed by Rondinone and his team in an icon of Venice.
Founded in 1261, Scuola Grande San Giovanni Evangelista presents the long and rich history of the city of Venice to visitors, and now has hanging Roger Federer molds added to its storied history.