Roger Federer says he will hold talks with his sponsors after being criticised by climate change activists, including Greta Thunberg. Federer has had a long-term link with Swiss bank Credit Suisse.
But that relationship came under scrutiny when a dozen Swiss climate activists appeared in court on Tuesday after refusing to pay a fine for playing tennis inside branches of the bank.
The stunt was designed to highlight the bank’s fossil fuel investments and “stop people acting like nothing is happening”.
The young activists, mostly students, were fined around £17,000 for trespassing at Credit Suisse branches in November 2018.
Footage from the incident shows the students dressed in white tennis clothes, to highlight Federer’s link to the bank, inside the branches in Lausanne and Geneva.
The students called on Federer to drop his relationship with the bank because of its fossil fuels investments.
Thunberg, who has caused worldwide headlines over the past year with her efforts to make people more aware of the environmental and climate issues, weighed in when she retweeted a post from 350.org Europe claiming Credit Suisse had given $57billion to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits with the question “Roger Federer do you endorse this?”
In an interview with the Guardian ahead of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Thunberg said: “Today’s business as usual is turning into a crime against humanity.
“We demand that you play your part in putting an end to this madness.”
“I am also very aware of my responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur and would like to use this privileged position for dialogue with my sponsors on these important issues.”
Federer will be keen to concentrate on his usual on court business after arriving in Melbourne to begin his preparation for the Australian Open.
“I’m super happy to be back in Melbourne,” Federer said.
“I wanted to arrive very early, for the children but also for the preparation. I love being here of course.
“We wait for that nice first hit on Rod Laver Arena. I have been feeling good, practising well everything is great and I can’t wait for it to start and to find out what the draw is later in the week.”