Can you name two world-famous Swiss athletes?
Easy. Tennis star and 17-time Grand Slam winner Roger Federer and Nashville Predators defenseman Roman Josi. Only one of them is confirmed as a winter and summer sport athlete, however.
While Federer’s involvement in hockey is undocumented, Josi’s passion for tennis has only grown since his childhood, and the NHL blueliner plays as often as his schedule permits.
“I play a lot of tennis during the summer,” Josi said. “That’s one thing you don’t get to do too often during the season. I play at least one to two times a week. I really enjoy it and of course the time with family and friends too.”
Fellow NHL defenseman, Philadelphia Flyer Mark Streit, has also picked up tennis alongside Josi and the pair played frequently this offseason.
“I play with Mark Streit a lot, he plays for the Flyers. And I play some with other friends from back home too,” said Josi.
The young Predators star shared that his interest in tennis deepened when Federer first began his rise to prominence in the early 2000s. Josi said he just wished his “fun” way to help stay fit during the summer could have happened more often if the weather had been agreeable.
“It was so bad. Just terrible. Probably one of the worst summers weather wise,” Josi said. “We had maybe two weeks of nice weather during the whole summer, so it was pretty bad. It was raining a lot.”
The Swiss summer might have been counterproductive to improving Josi’s serve, but it didn’t keep him from preparing for another season in Predators Gold.
In 2013-14, Josi was one of Nashville’s best players; and skating alongside Norris Trophy candidate Shea Weber again during the upcoming campaign will only help the young blueliner to build upon a career-best campaign recently completed. Josi tallied 40 points last season, notching goal and assist numbers that exceeded the total of his previous two seasons combined.
“It helps of course to play with someone like Weber,” Josi said. “It’s been great being back on the ice again with rest of the boys too. You don’t get to see the guys the whole summer. It’s easy to miss the locker room atmosphere, so it’s nice to be around all of them again. I’m really looking forward to the new season with our new coach.”