In 25 years of interviewing athletes, I’ve learnt that they never ask you anything back. Roger Federer is the exception. In the van to his private jet, he bombards me with questions: How badly have the gilets jaunes (yellow vests) smashed up Paris, where I live? Do I have children? When he discovers I have twins (he has two sets; one female, one male), and that my mother, like his, came from northern Johannesburg, he grins with delight: “We could be like brothers.” He speaks near-perfect English, with some of the sing-song rhythm of his native Swiss-German.

This morning we are flying his shared NetJets plane from Zurich to Madrid, where he’s playing a tournament. We take off almost vertically: private jets fly at over 40,000 feet, higher than commercial planes, and whizz through the thin and nearly traffic-free air.

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