roger federer, australian open, 2013 australia open
Federer acts as a ball boy during an exhibition match at the Kids Tennis Day on Rod Laver Arena at Melbourne Park. -Photo by AP

MELBOURNE: Tennis great Roger Federer has described how he almost moved to Australia as a child and broke down in tears when the shift from Switzerland failed to happen.

The 17-time Grand Slam winner was 13 at the time and could have ended up playing under the Australian flag.

“I remember that period quite vividly actually and it would have been a life-changer, no doubt about it,” he told domestic newswire Australian Associated Press in an interview in Melbourne.

He said his father went on several business trips to Australia and was offered a job in Australia by a pharmaceutical company and they were seriously debating a permanent move.

His father asked the family if they wanted to go.

“I was like: 'Yeah, let's go. I'm ready to go to Australia and live there,'” said Federer.

“Then he was, like: 'No, we have too many friends here, our roots are here now and I don't think we should go.'

“I remember when he told me this, I cried. I was like: 'No, I can't believe it.'”

He says now that he is happy they stayed in Switzerland, which he called “an incredible country”, but wondered what it would have been like to play Davis Cup for Australia, alongside long-time rival Lleyton Hewitt.

“I wonder who I would have played for. Hmmm, maybe (Australia). It would have been nice, I guess, to a degree,” he said.

“It's out of the question now, of course. But with the heritage here with Davis Cup, it would have been fun actually.”

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