By Richard Pagliaro
Add a couple of new titles to Roger Federer’s impressive resume: shoe designer and play tester.
Stepping into his first Tour-level match in 13 months this week, Federer was sporting a new pair of kicks for the occasion.
The 39-year-old Swiss debuted his new On shoes The Roger Pro after wearing Nike throughout his pro career.
“I worked very closed with the team in the On lab,” Federer said said of developing his new kicks. “I would give them ideas, they turned that into technology,” Federer said. “I did a lot of testing on the tennis court for weeks and weeks now and I really feel like it’s the right time to crack them open on a match court.”
The new shoes served Federer well in his 7-6(8), 3-6, 7-5 comeback conquest of practice partner Dan Evans. And though Federer failed to convert a match point falling to Nikoloz Basilashvili in the Doha quarters, it seems his shoe change was a success. Federer said he felt no pain from his surgically-repaired right knee after going the three-set distance in back-to-back matches following a 405-day sabbatical from the sport.
“Overall the body is actually fine. I’m happy,” Federer said. “You know, it could be much worse. I mean, there was always, you know, a little bit within me that thought, you know, how am I going to feel after a brutal first-round match? That’s what I was thinking about going into the tournament, and how would I feel the second round?
“I was always worried that maybe I couldn’t play it for whatever reason. I felt fine. You know, little stiff in the morning, but that’s totally normal I think.”
Federer owns a piece of Swiss sneaker manufacturer On.
Last summer, the brand released its first collaboration with the 20-time Grand Slam champion called The Roger, which is a lifestyle shoe inspired by tennis whereas The Roger Pro is Federer’s actual match competition shoe.
The pristine all-ivory shoe, The Roger, which recalls adidas’ classic Stan Smith model, is inspired by tennis, but not a tennis shoe the Swiss stylist said last summer.
“I’m proud to be a part of the creation of The Roger,” Federer said. “It’s the most comfortable tennis-inspired sneaker you will ever wear.”
Bearing the tagline “Swiss Engineering Meets the Swiss Maestro”, the shoe bears a small Swiss flag near the heel with its name “The Roger” embedded in gold type above the flag.
Photo credit: On