Unless Roger Federer has some sort of Brazilian heritage I'm unfamiliar with, I'm not sure why he thought that wearing a Brazilian national uniform in his latest promotional pictures is a good thing. In a sport like tennis where individualism is king, there is still a strong sense of national pride that most players still seem to feel. Right now, everyone is talking about how fascinating an idea it would be to see Federer playing other sports (like soccer or volleyball). However, what nobody is talking about is why Federer is wearing the uniform of a country that is not his.
Why He's Donning the Brazil Kit
Federer is making a tour of Brazil later this year to play a series of exhibition matches. This will mark Federer's first trip to South America, and clearly his main sponsor, Nike, is pulling out all the stops. I'm really puzzled as to why anyone thought that this was a good idea. Federer in a volleyball uniform? Federer in a soccer uniform? Not bad, but why is he wearing the Brazilian team colors?
Not only that, but he's wearing No. 10. For those unaware, Brazil's most famous athlete, Pele, wore No. 10 for Brazil throughout his soccer career. It's an interesting choice, and one that could be controversial in Brazil. Do Brazilians see it as paying homage, or simply a Nike-inspired publicity stunt? As one columnist noted, it's surprising that he didn't wear No. 17 (to signify the 17 Grand Slams that he's won in his career).
Nadal In An American Uniform?
I'm just having a hard time understanding why Nike thought it necessary to put Federer in the Brazilian uniform. Make all the jokes about the Swiss and their neutrality, but can you imagine any other tennis player donning the uniform of another country for any reason? Would you ever see Rafael Nadal in the red, white, and blue in America? Imagine Novak Djokovic in an Australian team uniform? It seems inconceivable, doesn't it?
I've never seen Federer as that patriotic, and perhaps a great deal of that is simply that he's Swiss. Perhaps in Switzerland there's not a strong patriotic fervor like there is in Spain, Croatia, or even America. Federer is a great champion and one of the greatest players ever in the tennis world. Perhaps Nike is the one to blame here. However, Federer's judgement doesn't seem too good in this photo spread. I'm a bit unclear as to why this hasn't been a bigger deal. Perhaps the media doesn't wish to displease Federer, but someone needed to point out the incongruity in Federer in a Brazilian team uniform.
Julie is a featured sports contributor to the Yahoo Contributor Network. A lifelong tennis fan, she believes that this current era of tennis may be its best.