Qtn in black and Roger Brennwald's answers in Red
Why did you try that phone trick that day?
I was sitting with many journalists. I felt an enormous amount of expectation. A journalist asked: <Why don't you just call Roger to settle all the differences of the world? That shouldn't be a problem for you> My answer was. <I have tried it a few times and I can also try again just now.> This reaction was stupid of me. But believe me, I didn't have an evil intention behind it. I'm not someone who is dishonest or disloyal.
A man with your experience should not have done this?
You're right. I also apologize for that. First and foremost, of course to Roger (Federer). I also (apologize) to all others who felt that was inappropriate.
Have the last few days been the most difficult days in your 43-year-old Swiss Indoors career?
Yes, you can say that. I care a lot about relationship with Roger Federer and his family. Roger as a boy came on a bike to the stadium, he was a ball boy here, his mother, Lynette was involved for ten years in the organization. A fairytale story! I hope that Roger accepts my apology for involving him personally in this. Sorry Roger, I'm only human.
Picture of Roger Federer and Brennwald at 2001 Swiss Indoors
You already know him for many years. You knew him ever since he was a ball boy?
Yeah. He was also honored as the best young athletes in the region and could pose with Jimmy Connors and Mansour Bahrami. It was a public vote of ten talents, Roger was then eleven or twelve years old. He then had got 5000 francs as scholarship.
Federer confirmed his participation at this year's tournament in a newspaper interview. Did you experience this unique approach as a provocation?
Not a provocation, but a bit unusual.
The ball boy for once punched you on the nose?
I think it's of no use to worry or think about it. My own perceptions are now no longer required.
Federer is the head of his company. If he says his manager will talk to me (Brennwald), its his decision. But I did not interfere in Roger Federer's decision. It was a bit hard to accept that we had to conduct the contract negotiations with his manager. Nevertheless, for some time I have been wanting to talk with Roger in private.
If Federer plays without a contract, he gets no salary and only the inaugural prize money. Will it really be this case?
As per his arrangement: Yes! But emotionally considered: no. I am used to making sound agreements for both parties. Therefore my aim is to continue a contract with him.
You do not want Federer to play for free? Paying him an appearance fee that will be due to him, because he has no contract will not be possible?
Although the budget is exhausted. But I am always ready to talk about it. The goal must be that both parties are satisfied with a good feeling and Roger can aim for his sixth title at the Swiss Indoors.
Hasn't already too much crockery been smashed to mend that?
I'm not resentful. If you cannot leave behind mistakes and disappointments, you cannot move forward in life.
Are you not worried that your tournament might go in to a mortgage and the dispute could mean that you will relinquish your responsibility (as the Tournament president) earlier than planned?
Certainly not. Sooner or later we will solve the problem.
You are now 66 years old. How long do you intend to do this job yet?
I follow the motto of "Udo Jürgens" that life begins at 66 and it has just started for me. The basis of all plans and ideas is health. Of course, enthusiasm and passion should not be lacking. And also by the fact, that how I am supported by my team and the 700-member organization.
What was the turning point in your relationship with Federer, you not allowing him to take over the tournament, which once ran on his advances (referring to the 2010 finacial crunch after Davidoff the primary sponsor had to be removed because of the decision not to allow Tobacco companies to advertise)?
A purchase or sale was never any discussion. Roger had just asked me to inform him if I ever decide to come up with the idea to sell the tournament.
You think of it as your last great task of leading the tournament, in the time after Federer before you put in to new hands?
Whether this is my last big job, I do not know. Maybe wait still greater work ahead of me (laughs).
Are you not worried of the fact that interest in tennis in Switzerland after Federer will decline rapidly?
Yes, of course, the concern is there. But when that time comes, there is no way around. The fact is that the traditional event will live on. The Swiss Indoors will remain the Swiss Indoors. Tennis is a wonderful sport.
But without Federer the tournament would not be where it is today.
There is no question about it. Federer has dominated the tournament in the last seven years. But before his time the world's best players came to Basel and the Swiss Indoors was a sporting and social highlight in our country. And the development process is still going on. By 2017, "St. Jakobshalle" would be redeveloped. Then, it would be easier and hopefully more cost-effective for an organizer, thanks to state of the art facilities, to meet the needs of fans (& sponsors).
Amazingly the tournament despite of Zugpferds & Federer is not out. This means that you are looking for more sponsors. Will you have a simpler stand in this regard if Federer pulls out or loses all interest to play here?
Fundraising has never been easy and it will not be in the future. We are dependent with or without Federer, on the goodwill of advertisers and sponsors.
Actually, what do you have to say on the highs of your neighbours FC Basel?
I do not know of any Basler (Basel resident) who is not proud of its FCB. I also like to sit in the stands and enjoy the great games and the and the rousing atmosphere up close. The success is based on the professional structures of the association. Starting with President Bernhard Heusler up to the groundsman.
Do you have to take a lot at this year's Carnival in the Schnitzelbänken because of differences with Federer?
No, only the activities at the Carnival remained in the frame. It had other subjects such as littering, the expenditure and the tax treaty were in the foreground.
Last question: Who will win the tournament this year?