Roger Federer and Trevor Noah on why you should visit Switzerland | FT Globetrotter
Roger Federer reunites with friend and comedian Trevor Noah to give an exclusive interview to the FT on the set of the tennis great's latest film for Switzerland Tourism, in which they share advice on visiting the country, from Appenzell to Zurich, via cold-water swimming, train travel and skiing the Matterhorn — or not. Interview by Niki Blasina. Produced and edited by Richard Topping
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Naturally, I've always represented Switzerland because next to my name has always been the Swiss flag. I just felt like with age and at the right time, maybe also with the pandemic and everything, it was the right time to jump into more of an official role.
Switzerland has always been a part of my life. My father's Swiss, so I always wanted to come to the country. Because I never did comedy in Switzerland I guess I never got around to it and then came to Switzerland for the first time in the summer, and it was absolutely stunning. Roger came out to the show in Zurich. He was actually my tour guide in Zurich, which was... I was like, wow, this guy really takes the Swiss tourism gig seriously.
I'd say you probably have to go to Uetliberg, which is sort of just a hill on the side here. It's a nice walk. You should go for a swim in the lake, summer and winter potentially. I'm not so much the winter swimmer, you know what I mean? It's not really my thing. There's some good international museums here as well that you can visit. And then I just think walking around the famous Bahnhof Strasse, do some shopping, and going maybe to the Old Town as well a little bit. And then honestly, you drive with a tram or a bus or with a car for 10, 15 minutes, and you're in beautiful countryside.
Hey, Bob, how are you doing?
Hey, Roger, how are you?
Just relaxing in the Swiss Alps. Take a look.
Wow. Wow, Roger.
It's been great fun doing the commercial shoots with Robert De Niro, Anne Hathaway, and now with Trevor. It's been wonderful. Doing this commercial shoot today with Trevor really brought me back to my childhood a little bit because I was always on trains, and I remember leaving home, looking out of the window, and seeing the trees and the fields go by, and thinking, will I be a good tennis player? Will I not? Will I win? Will I not?
There were a few moments where the train actually almost did take off with us. And we were laughing, saying, would that become the meta joke? Does that become the joke in the joke? They weren't even going to hold it for us. We were like, we're making an ad. And then they were like, yeah, and the train has a schedule.
So when I was younger, I was in the train all the time, or tram, or bus for that matter. I always think it's a great way to discover a new city, a new country because you've got to think about where you're going, and you've got to plan a little bit, whereas if you get in a car and you just listen to the navigation system, you don't actually pay attention so much where you go. And obviously flying, it's even crazier.
I also think Switzerland has some of the most picturesque landscapes that you can imagine. And because it seems so small, you don't think you can go anywhere. That's actually what becomes its advantage is you can just bounce around.
I'm a comedian, Roger.
In Switzerland, I would love to go to Tezino, the Italian speaking part. I don't know it that well. Even where I have my house in the mountains, it's the biggest Canton of the country in Graubunden. And I feel like there is so many nice little spots I still need to go to. Obviously, hopefully, I can do it as well with my children. I've taken them on some monster hikes, we call them in the family.
And yeah, I remember when I came down, my knees were shaking because I was actually rehabbing back in '16 and '17, and I was not ready for such a huge hike. And I underestimated the hike. And as I was coming down, we were all like, oh my God, this was too far.
Here in Switzerland, you take your backpack. You take your sausage. You make your fire. Then you grill the sausage. And it's a total cultural thing. And it's so much fun. But you've got to be a little bit ahead with planning, which route you're going to take. And sometimes I made the mistake of not doing that. And then you get caught in the rain or in some winds. I'm a big foodie. I love my food. For me, it's the getaway sometimes in the evenings with some friends and family and just get out and have a lovely meal.
There's like a thing that I always used to love eating I had the last time I was here as well. Is called like Rosti?
Yeah, Rosti, big time. I was hoping you were going to say Rosti.
Yeah, that's easily my favourite. There's a spot a few blocks from Bahnhof Castle on the other side of the river. There's a really nice spot that sells...
Yeah, some rosti.
There are different ways.
Yeah, and there's different styles of it.
With the egg on top.
But that's easily, easily, easily my favourite Swiss cuisine.
It's a bit heavy, I know. But it tastes the better.
Every time I talk to Roger, he'll always brag about skiing. And he'll always be like, I'm skiing. What are you doing in life, Trevor? Nothing.
Come on, I saw you river rafting.
I can't ski. I've tried it once in South Africa. But we only had enough snow for you to maybe ski and then hit the ground. So I want to come back and try that. I am not an outdoorsy person at all. I think my mum told me to go inside because she was outside and she wanted the peace and quiet.
So as I've gotten older, I've spent a little more time outdoors. And then I promised him I'd keep playing tennis because I learned to play with him. So that'll keep me outdoors here and there. But now, the next step is skiing. And my dream is to ski from the top of the mountain that was always on the Toblerone chocolates.
Yeah. That's my goal.
It's my two dreams coming together.
You know you can't ski down from that, from the top?
That's my dream, Roger. Don't worry about my dreams.
Use the paraglider with you.
You take me there, and I'm going to make it happen. That's all I know.