Rome: As a seven-time Wimbledon champion, not to mention a universally admired athlete, Roger Federer has seen many glorious moments. But nothing quite like this. A week after his wife Mirka gave birth to twin boys, Federer still finds himself floating on the most beatific high.
“This is the best time of my life,” he explained softly in Rome on Tuesday, almost as if he could not believe the latest extraordinary chapter of his personal script.
How poetic that it should have been twins. You can imagine the movie strapline: “Double trouble, all over again”. After Myla and Charlene, born on July 23, 2009, we can now welcome Leo and Lenny (May 6, 2014).
At times, it feels as though Federer carries a magical force field that repels ordinariness. Even when it comes to the elemental business of carrying on his family line, the man is one in a million.
“When we found out we were having twins, it was like one of those moments where you’re like: ‘Wow, I can’t believe it, it’s really happening again’,” Federer said in his first interview since the boys’ birth. “But I always felt that there was a chance. My sister Diana has twins: a boy and a girl. And my grandmother on my mum’s side was a twin apparently. So I guess that we jumped a generation.”
One detail has yet to be resolved. Myla and Charlene are identical twins. It is always heart-warming to see them tootling around the All England Club on the eve of Wimbledon: fair-haired, dark eyed and clad in matching dresses.
So what about Leo and Lenny? “We don’t know actually this time,” Federer said. “For some reason, they couldn’t tell if they were identical. So we are making a DNA test to find out.”
Could he not perhaps supply a photo, just for the pleasure of a little untrained speculation? Federer smiled his foxy smile. “Yes, I do have a picture on my phone. And yes, I am showing my friends. But we don’t know each other that well.”
Federer has certainly been feted since his arrival in Rome.
[Federer will be returning to his newborn twins earlier than expected after his Italian Open adventure ended with a 1-6, 6-3, 7-6 (6) second-round defeat to Frenchman Jeremy Chardy, on Wednesday.]
As he strode through the players’ lounge on Tuesday, every single person stopped what they were doing to offer their congratulations. Rafael Nadal, rushing the other way, paused for a hand-clasp and a hearty clap on the shoulder.
Federer also admits his preparation has been a little thin.
“I’m aware it’s going to be a lot of work. But this is not a time where anybody needs to feel sorry for me or get worried. It’s super-exciting. With Myla and Charlene just being there and being with them, observing, just doing it all together, it’s so cool. I’m really looking forward to it all, and the future is beautiful.”