George Russell can expect to have Roger Federer cheering him on at grands prix in the future after the tennis legend’s retirement.
The Mercedes driver was pictured with Federer in his team’s garage at the Spanish Grand Prix earlier this year, along with Lewis Hamilton and Toto Wolff.
During an interview at the Barcelona circuit, the 41-year-old Swiss star had said he was a big F1 fan having “followed it a lot when I was younger”, but that doing so had become more difficult due to his commitments on the tennis tour.
This year’s Spanish GP was only the second race Federer had attended – after Abu Dhabi 2016 – but more visits should be possible now he has ended a playing career which first began to take off when he won the Wimbledon junior singles and doubles titles before his 17th birthday way back in 1998.
Russell attended Federer’s swansong, the Laver Cup team tournament at the O2 Arena in London, where the former World No 1 had chosen to bow out in his first competitive appearance since Wimbledon 2021 following a lengthy battle with a knee injury.
Eurosport filmed the duo having a chat behind the scenes, during which Federer had confirmed Sunday night would be party night once the tournament had concluded.
“I wish I could join but I’ve got a big race next week,” said the Mercedes driver.
When Federer asked him where the race was, the 24-year-old Briton replied: “Singapore. It’s always the most physical one of the year with the humidity and the heat.”
Russell then said to Federer he needed to come to a race, to which the eight-time Wimbledon men’s champion replied: “Now I have time, now there’s no excuse for me not to come!”
On his plans for the future, Federer added: “Next couple of weeks off now, which is great so I can look back at what’s been going on and be with the kids and Mirka (his wife) and see what comes next.
“It’s good to have nothing [to do] and wake up and have coffee for a second!”
Russell, who was filmed arriving at the O2 Arena in a Mercedes official Laver Cup car, also met Andy Murray, another player in action at the competition.
“Great to catch up with Roger Federer after the final game of his incredible career,” tweeted Russell.
“Not just one of the greatest athletes of all time, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet too.
“Same goes for Andy Murray – seriously funny guy!”
Great to catch up with @rogerfederer after the final game of his incredible career. Not just one of the greatest athletes of all time, one of the nicest guys you could ever meet too. Same goes for @andy_murray – seriously funny guy! #LaverCup pic.twitter.com/9QGZxYsRAq
— George Russell (@GeorgeRussell63) September 24, 2022
Unfortunately, there was no fairytale ending for Federer as, representing Europe with his old rival Rafael Nadal in the doubles, they lost to American duo Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe of the World team.