Roman Josi’s hockey career is off to a very successful start. He’s playing top minutes every night alongside two-time Norris Trophy nominee Shea Weber, was named MVP of the 2013 IIHF World Championships, signed a seven-year, $28 million contract with the Predators last summer and will be representing his home country of Switzerland in the Olympics in February.
Even though hockey is where his true passion is, Josi is also very passionate about another sport thanks in large part to a fellow Swiss athlete that Josi considers to be a hero.
Josi has developed a passion for tennis over the course of his life, especially since Roger Federer went through his magical run and became the all-time leader in Grand Slam singles titles with 17 and put together one of the most dominant runs in the history of sports.
“I always used to watch tennis and I played a little bit, and then Federer kind of became big, and I think the whole country started watching it more and more. I think that’s where I really started to play too, and one of my best friends played tennis when he was younger so I used to go with him,” Josi said.
While he doesn’t have a whole lot of time to play for the majority of the year due to hockey, Josi does play some tennis during the summers. He doesn’t necessarily get to play competitively all that much, but Josi takes advantage of a much less busy schedule in the summer time.
“I’m in a club, but there’s no time,” Josi said. “I can only play during the summer. I don’t play during the winter. But I play a lot [during the summer]. I play at least once a week during the summer.”
Federer has been a big inspiration for Josi’s passion for tennis. Before Federer came along, there weren’t very many famous Swiss athletes and hardly any world famous Swiss athletes. Federer changed that by becoming one of the most famous athletes on the face of the planet. He’s considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time, and Josi thinks he’s been very important for the country of Switzerland as a whole.
“I think he’s kind of a national hero,” Josi said. “We’ve never had a sports guy like him, and we probably never will. He was dominating world tennis for six or seven years. Everywhere you go, everybody knows Roger Federer is from Switzerland and everybody knows him, so he definitely means a lot. It means a lot of good things for Switzerland, especially since he’s such a great guy and he’s loved everywhere. That’s good for all of Switzerland.”
Josi has actually met Federer on several different occasions in his life and raves about the type of person that he is.
“I’ve met him like four or five times already,” Josi said. “I was in Wimbledon and his home tournament in Basel, I met him a couple of times there. He’s a great guy. He’s just so down-to-earth. It’s unbelievable how nice of a guy he is. All of the success he’s had, and he’s still not cocky at all so that’s great to see.”
While it’s very unlikely that Josi will ever reach the level of fame that Federer has, Josi is quickly making a name for himself in Switzerland. He’s going to be one of the top players, if not the top player, for Switzerland in the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, and led the Swiss to a silver medal in last summer’s World Championships.
Josi considers Federer to be one of his heroes, but if things keep progressing for Josi in his hockey career like they have been over the past few years, there will be kids in Switzerland one day that consider Josi to be one of their heroes.