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Tuesday, Sep 17, 2019

Roger Federer: One of tennis’ all-time greats

Counted among all-time great tennis players, he has won 20 Grand Slam singles titles which is more than anyone in the sport’s history. Currently, he is third in the ATP rankings.

inspiring-lives Updated: Sep 12, 2019 11:54 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
Legendary tennis player Roger Federer had developed an interest in the game very early in his life. By the age of 6, he had become the best player in his age group in his home city Basel, Switzerland.
Legendary tennis player Roger Federer had developed an interest in the game very early in his life. By the age of 6, he had become the best player in his age group in his home city Basel, Switzerland. (Illustration: Gajanan Nirphale)
         

Born to Robert Federer and Lynette Federer on August 8, 1981 in Basel, a city in northwest Switzerland, Roger Federer holds the citizenship of Switzerland and South Africa as his mother has South African roots.Federer played many sports while growing up.

First steps in tennis

Federer developed interest in tennis very early in life. At the age of 6, he became the best player in his age group in his home city. Four years later, he began receiving private training from coach Adolf Kacovsky. At 14, he was chosen for training at the Swiss National Tennis Center as he became the national champion. In 1998, he clinched the junior Wimbledon title and ended the year with the ITF world junior Champion recognition.

Rise as a player

In 2001, it was at the Milan Indoor Tournament that Federer achieved his debut singles title win. In the same year, he also reached the quarter-finals for the first time in his career, in the French Open held in Paris.

Breakthrough

Federer, 19, beat four-time defending champion and then world number 1, Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001. In 2003,he won his first Grand Slam singles title at the Wimbledon and continued to win the Wimbledon’s crown till 2007. In 2004, he won three Grand Slam singles titles – the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open — and became the second person to do so after Swedish Mats Wilander who did so in 1988.

In 2004, he became the world’s top player for the first time. 2006 is considered the best year in Federer’s career as he again won three of the four Grand Slams titles. In the Wimbledon final that year, he met Rafael Nadal for the first time and defeated him to win the title for the fourth consecutive time.

He topped the ATP rankings from 2004 to 2008. In 2006, he became the first man to enter all the four finals in a calendar year since Rod Laver in 1969. In 2007, he again reached all the four Grand Slam finals, won three of them. He won the Australian Open against Fernando Gonzales without dropping a set. In 1980, Björn Borg, who won the French Open, was the last to win a Grand Slam tournament without losing a set.

Record machine

In 2009, with 13 Grand Slams, Federer was only one title behind Pete Sampras’ then world record of 14 Slam titles. Federer beat Robin Soderling to win the final of the French Open. In the same year, he defeated Andy Roddick to win his sixth Wimbledon title, his 15th Grand Slam title, thus breaking Sampras’ record. The Wimbledon final was also the longest Grand Slam final in terms of the games played. After a quiet period since 2010, Federer reasserted himself to reclaim the world no. 1 rank in 2012, beating Andy Murray and winning back the numero uno tag with his seventh Wimbledon title.

After five years of unimpressive show, in 2017 Federer again surprised the world by winning the Australian Open against staunch rival Rafael Nadal. In 2018, Federer won his 20th slam in Melbourne. In 2019, he lost the Wimbledon title to his other great rival Djokovic and the duo played the longest final in the tournament’s history.

Interesting facts

1.Australian great and former world No.1 Rod Laver recently explained why according to him Roger Federer is great among the Big Three that includes Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. What Laver also appreciated about Federer is the “mere fact that he loves the game, and is prepared to support it and do whatever he can to make it a better game. I tend to feel that Roger would probably be the number one,” he said.

2.Until 2018-end , Federer held the third highest number of 27 Guinness World Records (of which 22 are performance-based in one discipline. Other records are held by Michael Phelps (26, 24) and Fiann Paul (30, 23).

3.He is the first living legend to be featured on a Swiss stamp. Unveiled in 2007, the stamp shows Federer holding the Wimbledon trophy. In 2006, a street in the Halle, Germany, was also named after him.

4.Federer married Mirka Vavrinec, a colleague, in the year 2009, and they became the parents of twin girls Myla Rose and Charlene later in the same year. They also had twin boys Leo and Lennart in 2014.

Sources: Tennis World, Association of Tennis Professionals and Wikipedia

First Published: Sep 12, 2019 11:53 IST