The Tennis Space: People of Influence:
Number 20: Mirka Federer.
Sphere of influence: Roger Federer.
When Roger met Mirka, he was interested in tracksuits and video games; now he wears Prada and has Anna Wintour on speed-dial. One of Mirka’s accomplishments – if accomplishment is the right word – has been helping to turn Roger Federer into a off-court sophisticate. She also assists him with on-court matters. Mirka, who is a former player, has watched more of his matches than anyone else, and will offer constructive criticism when she feels it is needed. Jon Wertheim’s book about the 2008 Wimbledon final, Strokes of Genius, records how Mirka intercepted Roger during the first rain-delay to remind him: “YOU are Roger Federer.” As the New York Times put it, Mrs Roger Federer “has long been the most important woman in the men’s game”.
They say: “Mirka plays a huge role and has great input and impact,” Paul Annacone, Federer’s coach, has said. “She understands the big picture extremely well and does a great job in terms of letting us work but also shares invaluable information. This is a tricky balance. She’s been there since day one, so she knows very well what it takes and how to get there.”
She says: Very little in public (she doesn’t do interviews).
What next: In between looking after their twins, Mirka is helping her husband with his ambition of winning a seventeenth grand slam.