Former Ballarat man behind Federer viral video

Roger Federer enjoying his time off the court by showing off his skills as a percussionist. Photo: Hopman Cup Facebook Page.
Roger Federer enjoying his time off the court by showing off his skills as a percussionist. Photo: Hopman Cup Facebook Page.

Tennis fans who tuned into the Hopman Cup on Wednesday night were greeted with the unexpected sight of sporting icon Roger Federer channeling his inner musician. 

The Swiss ace was captured on camera exuberantly drumming on a set of virtual bongo drums during teammate Belinda Bencic’s match against German Andrea Petkovic at Perth Arena.

However, many people would be unaware the viral sensation was the brainchild of a former Ballarat resident. 

Anthony Caligari, now stadium production supervisor at Tennis Australia, took the idea from the NBA after visiting the United States. 

“My family and I went to an NBA game, and they had the bongo animation up on the big screen”, Caligari said. 

“I noticed how much the crowd was loving it, so I thought it was worth trying at the Hopman Cup.

“It lets people be animated and get moving, which is something not a lot of other concepts allow.”

Since Wednesday night, the video has reached more than 550,000 views on Facebook, while the YouTube video has clocked over 50,000. 

Caligari said he never expected the idea to lead to a viral video, let alone one of the world’s most recognised sporting faces. 

“It was obviously a big surprise to see Roger joining in,” he said.

“With this kind of thing, you can never expect how people are going to react.

“Sometimes the little ideas can work well, and the best ideas you have will go nowhere.”

For Caligari, the goal is to now find a way to go one better and find the next crowd entertainment phenomenon.

“I’ve got a few ideas that we can work on from here,” he said. 

“We’ve looked at why the bongos worked, and started to brainstorm ideas based on that.”