Roger Federer says “it’s been hard to watch” his pal Tiger Woods struggle lately.
“It’s hard to follow, because you know what an athlete wants to do. He wants to be out there and compete and that’s what he’s not able to do with his injuries right now,” Federer said yesterday after a third-round win at the U.S. Open.
Federer said he and Woods chatted briefly on the phone earlier this week.
The two used to take part in a friendly competition over who would reach the Grand Slam record in their sport first. Federer tied Pete Sampras’ mark of 14 at the French Open in 2009 and broke it two months later at Wimbledon. He’s now at 16.
Woods, meanwhile, remains stuck on 14 – four short of Jack Nicklaus – without a major victory since the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines.
“He’s done so much in such a short period of time and for such a long time, actually, which is where I also draw the inspiration from,” Federer said. “To see those great athletes do it for a very long time, I’ve been able to do something similar in that regard.”
As the undisputed leaders in their sports for much of the last decade, Federer and Woods were both represented by the same agency and worked together as pitchmen for Gillette. They also struck up a personal friendship; they shared texts and phone calls, hung out some and Woods was in Federer’s guest box to watch him win the 2006 U.S. Open and they shared a champagne toast after the final.
Remember this commercial with Derek Jeter, Tiger Woods and Roger Federer? How great!