x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Dubai finalist Federer reveals why he plays only tennis

The Swiss has been ignoring his passion for skiing and football to stick to do what he knows best by reaching the final of the Dubai Duty Free Championships.

DUBAI // Being a Swiss, Roger Federer must have grown up with a pair of skis on his feet, gliding down the slopes of the Alps.

He loved to play football, as well, and often found time to chase a golf ball.

Tennis fans are grateful that he has decided to shun all other sports and focus on their game, although his rivals may not be as pleased.

Federer moved into the final of the Dubai Tennis Championships after a comfortable 6-2, 7-5 semi-final victory over Richard Gasquet last night at the Aviation Club.

"Last time I skied was in 2008 when I had mono," Federer said, referring to the viral disease mononucleosis.

"Came back after the Australian Open, went skiing, and next day I got ill again. So I was like, 'OK, it's a sign for me. No more skiing. That's a pity, but OK, we'll do that'.

"Soccer, I haven't played much, either. I remember when I had the groin issue in Wimbledon (in 2001). Then I went to Gstaad and I really couldn't move well. I won the doubles with (Marat) Safin. But I went to play soccer that whole week as well and couldn't move at the end. So it was just so silly of me.

"I played a round of golf with my parents. It was my mom's birthday the other week here, and I went to play on the Emirates Golf Course.

"It was nice to do, but the same thing again. Next thing you know, your back hurts just a little bit. You just don't want to do it, because my body is accustomed to play tennis right now. Honestly, I can wait for many more years until I can do all those sports really well."

With all the other sports taking a backseat, Federer will be fully focused on regaining his Dubai crown when he goes back on court tonight.

This will be his sixth final in eight appearances and the two-time defending champion Novak Djokovic stands between him and his fifth Dubai championship.