Roger Federer returned to his home country of Switzerland on Thursday for the inauguration of a street named in is honor. The former world number one has long-standing ties to the town of Biel/Bienne, where the street is located. The city, which officially has two names, sits on the unofficial border of the German and French speaking areas of Switzerland.
Biel is the German name of the city, while Bienne is the name of the town in French. Federer’s hometown of Basel, Switzerland, is about 100 km away from Biel/Bienne.
The Swiss National Tennis Center is subsequently located in Biel/Bienne. As a junior player, the Swiss Maestro spent a lot of his childhood training in the city, among many other places throughout Switzerland. Subsequently, the tennis center’s address will now read “1 Allée Roger Federer.” The new street, which is about 500 meters long, links the tennis center with the Champs-de-Boujean.
Federer attends ribbon-cutting ceremony
As expected, large crowds attended the event with one of Switzerland’s most popular figures. Following the ribbon-cutting event, the Fed-Express stayed to sign autographs and take selfies with fans. Smiling, Federer was clearly gracious during the announcement, but was also visibly touched and emotional. He began his remarks in German, before switching over to French, which the Swiss star remarked “would be a bit easier.”
“I am very moved,” Federer said. “I never thought I would see a street named after me. I hope that we will see future champions on the Allée Roger Federer.”
The mayor of the city, Erich Fier, attended the event as well, commenting that, “For Roger Federer, it is a journey through time,” referring to the time that the Swiss champion spent in the city when he was younger, training at the Swiss National Tennis Center.
Street has been in the works for six years
The original idea of a street named after Federer has been in the works ever since 2010. City officials saw this idea as a great way to commemorate the connection between the city and the Swiss champion. In 2011, after a series of negotiations, the 17-time Grand Slam champion signed off on the idea. In addition to this “allée” in Biel/Bienne, Federer has a street named after him in Halle, Germany, where the world number three is a record eight-time champion at the Gerry Weber Open.
Swiss Maestro also breaks ground on new tennis facility
In addition to the inauguration of his street, Federer was also able to break-ground on a new tennis training center and event center, also located at the Tissot Arena Sports Complex. The new training center and complex, which will cost about 8.5 million Swiss francs, or $8.7 million US Dollars, will open early next year. The venue will host a new WTA event in Biel, which will begin next April, 2017.
For Federer, he has not formally made any changes to his schedule over the next few weeks. While he could decided to participate in events in Madrid and/or Rome, the world number three will no doubt participate at the 2016 French Open, which begins in late May.