Andy Murray has revealed that he sent Roger Federer a message about Granit Xhaka after arriving in Switzerland for this week’s Basel ATP 500. The world No 49 is playing the Swiss Indoors for the first time since 2005 while this year marks the first edition of the tournament since Federer ended his career during last month’s Laver Cup.
Murray is back at the Swiss Indoors Basel for the first time in 17 years as he takes on Roman Safiullin in the first round on Tuesday. The three-time Major champion is bidding to boost his ranking by the end of the year so he can be a top 32 seed at January’s Australian Open, and has just two tournaments left to do so.
The ATP 500 tournament in Basel has not been staged since 2019 because of the pandemic, with Federer currently the reigning champion from three years ago despite retiring during last month’s Laver Cup. The event has become synonymous with the 20-time Major champion as he was a ball boy at the Swiss Indoors as a child before going on to lift the title ten times as a pro.
But the 35-year-old has now shared a hilarious message he sent Federer after arriving in Switzerland as he ignored the 103-time title winner’s legacy in favour of Arsenal star Xhaka, sharing his support for the North London club. “I messaged Roger, when I landed in Basel and I said: ‘I just touched down in the city of one of the world’s greatest ever athletes: Granit Xhaka,’” Murray told Aargauer Zeitung.
“I know that Granit Xhaka is from here, I’m a huge Arsenal fan. Xhaka is playing really, really well this season. He scored another wonderful goal on Sunday.” As for Federer, the hometown hero will not be present at this year’s Swiss Indoors after turning down an invitation for a special retirement ceremony.
The former world No 1 returned from 14 months on the sidelines for one last dance at London’s O2 Arena, playing his final match in the doubles alongside Rafael Nadal before hanging up his racket. And he admitted that it was too soon after his Laver Cup farewell to return to Basel.
“I would like to thank the Swiss Indoors for their willingness to welcome me in Basel this year,” said Federer in a statement. “I’ve been trying to process everything that’s happened lately.
“The celebration at home in Basel will have a very special meaning and is now too [soon] for me after London. I have so many incredible memories of playing at home for so many years and I wish the tournament continues to be one of the top stops on the ATP Tour.”