Famous Federer attracts athletes' attention

Switzerland's Roger Federer has become so popular among both competitors and media that he finds it difficult to walk around the athletes village at the Olympic park, and has journalists gushing over him at press conferences.

The world number one and 17-time grand slam winner has stayed at the athletes village at two of the three Olympics he has attended, but at his fourth in London he will be staying nearer the tennis venue in Wimbledon.

While this is partly down to convenience - the Olympic park is around an hour's drive from Wimbledon - the 30-year-old admitted his fame had also been a consideration.

"I have done the village before so it is not like I feel I have to do the village so badly. I would love to, but of course I have also become very famous over the last eight years or so, so times have also changed and when I do move around in the village things are not as simple as they were," he told the packed 700-capacity main press room at the Olympic media centre.

While waiting for the number one seed to arrive, many journalists were using their phones and iPads to take pictures of the seemingly unnecessary "Roger Federer" name placard on the table where he was to sit. As he arrived, people strained over each other to get a picture of him entering the room.

In contrast, only around 50 people turned out to see second seed Serbia's Novak Djokovic, who won a bronze at the Beijing Games and was knocked off the world number one spot by Federer this month, when he held a press conference an hour earlier along with some of his countrymen.

-  Reuters


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