Roger Federer has spoken publicly for the first time since copping criticism from climate activists about his partnership with Credit Suisse.
Federer has been targeted by climate activists in recent times because of his sponsorship arrangement with the Swiss banking giants, who invest heavily in fossil fuels.
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The hashtag #RogerWakeUpNow began trending on Twitter during the Australian Open, while several activists in Switzerland held banners saying, "Crédit Suisse is destroying the planet. Roger, do you support them?"
Since 2016 @CreditSuisse has provided $57 BILLION to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits - something that is utterly incompatible with #ClimateAction @RogerFederer do you endorse this? #RogerWakeUpNow pic.twitter.com/ED1fIvb4Cr— 350.org Europe (@350Europe) January 8, 2020
Thunberg then retweeted a post from 350.org Europe claiming Credit Suisse had given $US57 billion to companies looking for new fossil fuel deposits.
“Roger Federer do you endorse this?” the tweet read.
Federer previously released a statement addressing the furore, but has now spoken publicly about the situation.
“I am sometimes misused for certain purposes,” Federer recently told Swiss publication Tages Anzeiger.
“When I help one person, I am criticised for not doing it with others. I have reached a point where I have to think carefully about what I am doing.
“But I also have to be able to overlook criticism. I can’t be everywhere, I can’t do everything. I am also a father and tennis player.
“I am aware that I can make a difference, take the microphone and address certain things. But I can’t do that all the time.
“It is important that you choose the right things at the right time and get your message across in a fair way. Not by attacking others.
“I know I can make a difference with my popularity. For others, for the planet, for the animals. And I think it’s good what has recently been raised about collective consciousness.”
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A dozen Swiss activists appeared in court last month after refusing to pay a fine for playing tennis inside branches of Credit Suisse last year in a stunt intended to highlight the bank’s fossil fuel investments and “stop people acting like nothing is happening”.
Video footage from 2018 shows students dressed in tennis whites playing matches inside Credit Suisse branches in Lausanne and Geneva to underscore Federer’s sponsorship deal with the bank, which they want him to drop.
Federer previously issued a statement addressing his partnership with Credit Suisse.
“I take the impacts and threat of climate change very seriously, particularly as my family and I arrive in Australia amidst devastation from the bushfires,” a statement from Federer said.
“As the father of four young children and a fervent supporter of universal education, I have a great deal of respect and admiration for the youth climate movement, and I am grateful to young climate activists for pushing us all to examine our behaviours and act on innovative solutions. We owe it to them and ourselves to listen.
“I appreciate reminders of responsibility as a private individual, as an athlete and as an entrepreneur, and I’m committed to using this privileged position to dialogue on important issues with my sponsors.”
But according to Simon Briggs of the UK Telegraph: “Federer’s response to Thunberg and company contained plenty of words without making the slightest commitment to changing his relationship with Credit Suisse.”