The Daily Telegraph

What the deuce?

When the tennis ace turned himself into an artwork


Many would describe Roger Federer playing tennis as art, but last month the star revealed he had been turned into a sculpture during his recovery from injury.

While rehabilita­ting after a knee problem during 2021 and 2022, the Swiss player collaborat­ed with fellow Swiss Ugo Rondinone for an installati­on called Human Clouds as part of an exhibit entitled Burn Shine Fly.

The project required Federer to strip to his underwear in order for silicon rubber to be applied to create a mould of his body.

As part of the process, Federer was also strapped into a harness and suspended in midair. The mould was painted blue and white before being hung from a ceiling as part of the Venice Biennale.

It was not announced the sculpture was of Federer, and the 41-year-old later revealed that was part of the appeal of the project. “I was happy that it’s about Ugo and about the figures more than it is about ‘Roger Federer is hanging up in this church’,” he said. “What I like about the anonymous part about it is it’s in my life as well. I like it sometimes when it’s anonymous as well, people don’t know where I am, don’t know what I’m doing.” Federer, speaking in a documentar­y entitled Portrait of a Champion, also revealed how vulnerable he felt during the experience.

“Of course you feel vulnerable,” he said. “OK, I’m used to it when I’m on a tennis court but then I’ve got my racket which is like my hammer from Thor.”

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