Roger Federer details decision to include family videos that were 'never' meant for the public in 'emotional' retirement documentary

Though the world has seen Roger Federer on the tennis court for over 20 years, they are about to see more of him — and his family life — than ever before, even moments he intended to keep private.

On Monday, June 9, the 20-time Grand Slam winner, who retired in 2022, was the man of the hour at the premiere of Federer: Twelve Final Days, a documentary directed by Asif Kapadia and Joe Sabia about the tennis star’s life in the days leading up to his last ever tournament, the 2022 Laver Cup.

Along with appearances from his peers, such as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray, the documentary features intimate home videos not initially filmed with the intention of being shared with the world. 

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Speaking exclusively with HELLO! at the event, which was part of the 2024 TriBeCa Film Festival, Roger opened up about how he was convinced to share such an intimate glimpse into one of the most emotional experiences of his life.

“I’ve always been very giving and outgoing when it comes to press conferences, talking to the media, with the fans, all that stuff,” he explained, before noting that nonetheless there was always a ‘private’ area of his life that he thought: “Well, that’s for the team. And that’s for the family only to see.”

“Not that I was hiding anything by any means,” he continued, but emphasized: “I wanted that to be for us.”

Joe Sabia, Roger Federer, and Asif Kapadia attend the "Federer: Twelve Final Days" Premiere during the 2024 Tribeca Festival at SVA Theater on June 10, 2024 in New York City© Getty
Roger with his directors at the premiere

Still, he shared: “I was convinced early on that I should have some footage of the inner circle just for my life, just for the kids [to see] when they grow up, that they remember […] how it was, especially that very particular moment of my life,” referring to his retirement.

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With the father-of-four — he shares two sets of twins with wife Mirka Federer — filming under the assumption that the footage would be for memory-keeping only, it made for “the most honest expression of life as it happens,” Joe, the film’s co-director, also shared with HELLO!, describing him and his partner Asif as true flies on the wall.

Switzerland's Roger Federer is given the bumps by teammates after playing his final match, a doubles with Spain's Rafael Nadal of Team Europe against USA's Jack Sock and USA's Frances Tiafoe of Team World in the 2022 Laver Cup at the O2 Arena in London, early on September 24, 2022.© Getty
The tennis star with his famous peers after his final game

“Okay, fine. If it doesn’t go out, why not?” Roger recalled thinking. “I guess I was much more giving and much more relaxed, because I knew, well, this is never gonna go out. And actually, I [wanted] to focus on the end, and on my retirement, which was emotional enough as it was anyway.”

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Mirka Federer and Roger Federer attend the 96th Annual Academy Awards on March 10, 2024 in Hollywood, California© Getty
Roger and Mirka, also a former professional tennis player, have been married since 2009

Still, despite his penchant for privacy, he knew once he saw the footage that it wasn’t something he could keep from his fans.

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Poster for Roger Federer's new documentary, Twelve Final Days.© Amazon MGM Studios
Federer: Twelve Final Days will be available on Prime Video June 20

He further shared: “When I got to see the footage, I was like, ‘Oh my god.’ I guess I have to give this to my fans, I have to give this to the people.”

“[Whoever] doesn’t want to watch it, doesn’t have to. But if people like it, of course, it makes me very happy because it was a very important time of my life.”

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