He has dazzled us, dominated his opponents and defined modern tennis. Roger Federer is 30 years old, but he has proved that he is no down and out warrior yet. He still has enough firepower in him to win one or maybe more Grand Slam titles. It isn't for nothing that the champion player is still ranked No.3 in the world. Such has been his dominance that being No.3, a fantastic achievement for any other player, is just not considered good enough for Federer. Here is a look at the life of the Swiss Master. (Photo Courtesy: Rolex)
Considered by many sports analysts, tennis critics, former and current players to be the greatest tennis player of all time, Roger Federer was born on August 8, 1981 in Binningen, near Basel, to Swiss national Robert Federer and South Africa-born Lynette Du Rand. He holds both Swiss and South African citizenship.
He grew up in suburban Münchenstein, near Basel, close to the French-German borders and Federer speaks Swiss German, German, French and English fluently. (Wikipedia)
He was raised as a Catholic and met Pope Benedict XVI while playing the 2006 Internazionali BNL d'Italia tournament in Rome. Like all male Swiss citizens, Federer was subject to compulsory military service in the Swiss Armed Forces. However, in 2003 he was deemed unfit due to a long-standing back problem and was subsequently not required to fulfill his obligations. In this picture (L-R) Federer's father Robert, mother Lynettee and wife Mirka Vavrinec watch on as Pete Sampras and Roger Federer of Switzerland play during their exhibition match on March 10, 2008 at Madison Square Garden in New York City. Federer married Vavrinec in 2009. (Wikipedia)
Federer was four years old when Boris Becker – his childhood idol – won his first Wimbledon title in 1985. From then on, Federer watched "tennis matches on television for hours on end." In this picture: Roger Federer in 1992 as a Junior at the TC Old Boys. (Wikipedia) (Photo Courtesy: Tennis Club Old Boys Basel)
Reflecting on his childhood, he said, "I liked tennis the best of all sports. It was always exciting and winning or losing was always in my hands." (Wikipedia)
When he was 10, Federer began weekly private coaching with Adolf Kacovsky – a tennis coach at The Old Boys Tennis Club. "I noticed right away that this guy was a natural talent," said Kacovsky. "He was born with a racquet in his hand." At first, Federer received lessons only in a group, but "the club and I quickly noticed he was enormously talented. We began giving him private lessons that were partly funded by the club. Roger was a quick learner. When you wanted to teach him something new, he was able to pick it up after three of four tries, while others in the group needed weeks."
A "star pupil", the Swiss youngster always wanted to become the best in the world. "People laughed at him, including me," recollects Kacovsky. "I thought that he would perhaps become the best player in Switzerland or Europe but not the best in the world. He had it in his head and he worked at it." In this picture Federer (2001) is seen with tennis coach Kacovsky. (Photo Courtesy: Tennis Club Old Boys Basel)(Wikipedia)
He played football until the age of twelve when he decided to focus solely on tennis. At fourteen, he became the national champion of all groups in Switzerland and was chosen to train at the Swiss National Tennis Center in Ecublens. (Wikipedia)
He joined the ITF junior tennis circuit in July 1996. In 1998, his final year as a junior, Federer won the junior Wimbledon title and was recognized as the ITF World Junior Tennis champion of the year. (Wikipedia)
In July 1998, Federer joined the ATP tour at Gstaad, where he lost to Lucas Arnold Ker in straight sets. Although he played two more ATP tournaments in 1998, the majority of his matches were still at the Junior level. In April 1999, he debuted for the Swiss Davis Cup team against Italy and finished the year ranked World No. 66. (Wikipedia)
In January 2000, Federer competed for the first time in the Australian Open, losing to 49th ranked Arnaud Clément of France in the third round. He then equalled this achievement in his very first US Open, losing in the third round to 12th ranked Juan Carlos Ferrero of Spain. After reaching the semi-finals at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, Federer reached his first ATP final in Marseille, where he lost to compatriot Marc Rosset, and was also the runner-up in his home tournament at Basel.
He did, however, win the Harry Hopman Cup in Australia defeating Jan-Michael Gambill in the final in straight sets. Even though he failed to make an impression at Grand Slams, it was the first year he played in all four. Federer would then end the year ranked World No. 29. (Wikipedia)
2001: Federer's first ATP tournament victory came in February 2001 where he defeated French player Julien Boutter in the final of the Milan Indoor. During the same month, he won three matches for his country in its 3–2 Davis Cup victory over the United States. He later reached the quarter-finals at Wimbledon, as the No. 15th seed, defeating four-time defending champion and seven-time Wimbledon winner Pete Sampras 7–6(7), 5–7, 6–4, 6–7(2), 7–5 in the fourth round in an epic five-set match. This defeat ended Sampras' 31-match winning streak in the tournament. He also managed to reach the quarter-finals at the French Open. He finished the year ranked 13th. (Wikipedia)
2002: Federer reached his first Masters Series final in 2002 at the NASDAQ-100 Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, where he lost to Andre Agassi. He won his next Masters final in Hamburg. He also won both his Davis Cup singles matches against former World No. 1 Russians Marat Safin and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. He had early-round exits at the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open; Federer also suffered the devastating loss of his long-time Australian coach and mentor, Peter Carter, in a car crash in August. Federer reached No. 6 in the ATP Champions Race by the end of 2002. He jumped in the rankings from 13th at the end of September to 7th by the middle of October. This qualified him for the first time in the year-ending Tennis Masters Cup. However, his run at the tournament was ended in the semi-finals by then World No. 1 and eventual champion Lleyton Hewitt. (Wikipedia)
2003: Federer was undefeated on grass in 2003, winning both of the grass court tournaments he played. A victory against Nicolas Kiefer in the final of the tournament in Halle was followed by his first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon. He defeated Andy Roddick in the semi-finals and Mark Philippoussis in the final and lost only one set during the tournament. Federer challenged for the top ranking during 2003, finishing the year at World No. 2, just behind Roddick and just ahead of Juan Carlos Ferrero. (Wikipedia) (Photo Courtesy: Rolex)
2004: Federer had one of the most dominating and successful years in the open era of men's tennis. He won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments, did not lose a match to anyone ranked in the top ten, won every final he reached, and was named the ITF Tennis World Champion. His win–loss record for the year was 74–6 with 11 titles, which included three of the year's four Grand Slams and three ATP Masters Series titles. (Wikipedia)
2005: At the start of the year, Federer hired former Australian player Tony Roche to coach him on a limited basis. He reached the Australian Open semi-finals before falling to eventual winner Safin 5–7, 6–4, 5–7, 7–6(6), 9–7. Federer successfully defended his Wimbledon title, winning for the third consecutive year by defeating Roddick in a rematch of the previous year's final, this time winning in straight sets. He then dropped only two sets en route to his second consecutive US Open title, defeating Andre Agassi in four sets in the final. Federer became the first man in the open era to win Wimbledon and the US Open back-to-back in consecutive years (2004 and 2005). In this photo Agassi and Federer are seen playing a friendly at Dubai's Burj Al Arab, home to the world's highest tennis court. (Wikipedia)
2006: Federer won three of the four Grand Slam singles tournaments for the second time and ended the year ranked World No. 1, with his points being several thousand greater than World No. 2 Nadal's total. Federer's only Grand Slam loss came against Nadal in the French Open, the first final meeting between the two players.
This was Federer's seventh consecutive victory in a Grand Slam final (2003 Wimbledon – 2006 Australian Open), second overall only to Pete Sampras's eight consecutive wins (1995 Wimbledon – 2000 Wimbledon). (Wikipedia)
2007: Federer won his 3rd Australian Open and 10th Grand Slam singles title, defeating Fernando González of Chile in the final. He became the first man since Björn Borg in 1980 to win a Grand Slam singles tournament without losing a set.
His winning streak of 41 consecutive matches ended when he lost to Guillermo Cañas in the second round of the Pacific Life Open in Indian Wells, California, after winning the tournament for three consecutive years. The following week at the Sony Ericsson Open in Key Biscayne, Florida, Federer again lost to Cañas, this time in the fourth round in three sets. However, he was awarded four ATP Awards during a ceremony at the tournament, making him the first player to receive four awards during the same year. Federer finished the year as the World No. 1 player for the 4th consecutive time.
Due to his performance on the court and off-court personality, in 2007, Time magazine named him as one of the 100 most important persons in the world. Rod Laver, one of the greatest player ever himself described him as follows: "One thing is for sure: he's the best player of his time and one of the most admirable champions on the planet. That's certainly something worth crowing over. The beauty is, Roger Federer won't".
2008: Federer began the year by attempting to defend his title at the Australian Open. He lost, however, in the semi-finals to eventual champion Novak Djokovic 7–5, 6–3, 7–6(5). This ended his record of ten consecutive Grand Slam finals, the most ever for a men's player. In March, Federer revealed that he had recently been diagnosed with mononucleosis and that he may have suffered from it as early as December 2007. Federer also had an illness related to food poisoning prior to the start of the Australian Open. He noted, however, that he was now "medically cleared to compete".
At the French Open, Federer was dispatched quickly by Nadal, in the final 6–1, 6–3, 6–0. At Wimbledon, Federer once again played World No. 2 Nadal in the final. He eventually lost the match 6–4, 6–4, 6–7(5), 6–7(8), 9–7. The defeat also ended Federer's 65 match winning streak on grass. John McEnroe described the match as "The greatest match I've ever seen." After Nadal surpassed him as World No. 1 later in the year, Federer stated that his main goal would be to regain the Wimbledon title rather than the top spot.
At the US Open, Federer reached the fourth round without dropping a set. In the finals he defeated Andy Murray, who was playing in his first Grand Slam final, 6–2, 7–5, 6–2 to win his fifth straight US Open title and 13th major, leaving him one Grand Slam title short of Pete Sampras's all time record of 14. Federer ended the year ranked World No. 2.
2009: In his 18th Grand Slam final at the Australian Open, Federer was defeated by long-time rival Nadal in their first meeting on a hard court in a Grand Slam tournament. The match lasted over four hours with Nadal victorious in five sets. Federer broke down in tears during the trophy presentation and struggled to make his runner-up speech.
He, however, won his maiden French Open, beating Robin Söderling in the final 6–1, 7–6(1), 6–4. With the win, Federer equaled Pete Sampras's men's record of 14 Grand Slam titles and Ivan Lendl's record of 19 Grand Slam finals, and also became the sixth man in history to complete a Career Grand Slam. At the Wimbledon finals that took 4 hours and 17 minutes to complete, he beat Roddick in the latest chapter of their long, though lopsided rivalry, regaining the World No. 1 spot from Rafael Nadal. The match was also the longest men's singles final (in terms of games played) in Grand Slam history with 77 games played, and the fifth set alone lasted 95 minutes. The match has been called an "instant classic" by ESPN. With the win, he also became the fourth man in the open era to win both the French Open and Wimbledon in the same year.
At the US Open he lost to Juan Martin del Potro in the final, the score being 6–3, 6–7(5), 6–4, 6–7(4), 2–6. The loss broke Federer's streak of forty consecutive wins at the US Open. It also marked the first time Federer had lost in a Grand Slam final to an opponent other than Rafael Nadal. 2009 was a year when Federer managed to accomplish three major goals: winning his first French Open title, breaking Pete Sampras's record of 14 Grand Slam wins and regaining the Number 1 ranking from Rafael Nadal.
2010: Federer won his 16th Grand Slam at the Australian Open. He beat Britain's Andy Murray 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (11) for a fourth championship in Melbourne. (AP Photo)
2011: Year 2011 has so far not been a very memorable year for the former World No. 1. Federer started 2011 with a win over Nikolay Davydenko in the Qatar Open. He crashed out of the Australian Open after Novak Djokovic beat him in the semi-finals. He then made it to the final in Dubai but again lost to Djokovic 3–6 3–6. The 'D' factor did not allow him to make it to the BNP Paribas Open final as well. However, he made it to the doubles final with Stanislas Wawrinka beating Rafael Nadal. They lost in the final. He was beaten by Nadal in the Sony Ericsson Open in Miami. He lost to Rafa in the Madrid Masters semi-finals, while he crashed out of the Rome Masters after going down against Richard Gasquet in the third round. In the French Open, Federer romped into the final to face 'nemesis' Nadal. On the way, he ended Djokovic's record winning streak of 43 wins. He beat him 7–6, 6–3, 3–6, 7–6 in the semi-finals. But Nadal beat him 5–7, 6–7, 7–5, 1–6 in the final to win his sixth French Open title. From Paris Federer moved to his favourite hunting ground, or shall we say, hunting court - Wimbledon. He had the chance to equal Pete Sampras' record of seven Wimbledon titles, but he faltered in the quarterfinal against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Despite all the on-the-court lows, Federer was ranked No.25 in Forbes Celebrity 100 List. Let's see how he does in the US Open, the last Grand Slam of the year.
Federer vs Nadal: Federer and Nadal have been playing each other since 2004 and their rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers. Nadal leads their head-to-head 17–8. Because tournament seedings are based on rankings, 16 of their matches have been in tournament finals, including an all-time record 8 Grand Slam finals. From 2006 to 2008 they played in every French Open and Wimbledon final, and then they met in the 2009 Australian Open final. After a hiatus of almost two years, the two greats met in the final of French Open in 2011, which Nadal won 7-5, 7-6, 5-7, 6-1. Following Nadal's historic Wimbledon win in 2008, Federer was dethroned from the No. 1 spot. The two players, who are great friends off the court and have tremendous respect for each other, have given tennis rivalry a new definition.
Federer vs Hewitt: Lleyton Hewitt holds the longest rivalry with Federer of any active player on the ATP Tour, which began with the semi-finals of the World Youth Cup in 1996. Hewitt is also one of few active players who had a winning record against Federer during the beginning of his career, including Hewitt's five-set victory over the Swiss in the 2003 Davis Cup semifinals. In 2004, Hewitt became the first man in history to lose in each Grand Slam singles tournament to the eventual champion; three of the losses were at the hands of Federer. They met for the 24th time in the fourth round of the 2010 Australian Open, in which Federer prevailed 6-2, 6-3, 6-4, although Hewitt exacted revenge in the next meeting at Halle. To date, Federer has compiled a 17–8 record against the Australian. (AP Photo)
Federer vs. Roddick: They have played against each other 22 times, including four Grand Slam finals (three at Wimbledon and one at the US Open), Federer leads 20–2. Federer's dominance on the tour emerged as Roddick rose to World No. 1 ranking in 2003.
In the 2009 Wimbledon final Roddick took Federer to five sets. It included a fifth-set made up of 30 games (a Grand Slam final record) with the match lasting over 4 hours with the final match score of 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14.
Playing style: Federer's versatility was epitomised by Jimmy Connors' statement: "In an era of specialists, you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist...or you're Roger Federer." Federer is an all-court player known for his fluent style of play and shot making. Federer mainly plays from the baseline but is also comfortable at the net being one of the best volleyers in the game today. David Foster Wallace described Federer's exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of his forehand motion as "a great liquid whip", while John McEnroe has referred to Federer's forehand as "the greatest shot in our sport". (Wikipedia)
Federer is married to former Women's Tennis Association player Mirka Vavrinec. They met while competing for Switzerland in the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Vavrinec retired from the tour in 2002 because of a foot injury and has since been working as Federer's public relations manager. They were married in Basel on 11 April 2009, surrounded by a small group of close friends and family at Wenkenhof Villa. According to Swiss newspaper Blick, Roger wore a Tom Ford suit, Mirka wore an Oscar de la Renta dress to the wedding. (Wikipedia/Agencies) (Photo Courtesy: Schweizer Illustrierte)
On July 24, 2009, Federer announced on his Facebook page that Mirka had given birth to twin girls, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, on the previous day. (Wikipedia)
In 2007, Federer featured in one of three Annie Leibovitz images to celebrate Disney Parks' 'Year of a Million Dreams'. Disneyland Resort in California and Walt Disney World Resort in Florida commissioned Leibovitz to create images featuring international celebrities in fairy tale settings. (Photo Courtesy: Disneyland Resort)
Federer currently plays with a customised Wilson KFactor KSix-One Tour 90 tennis racquet, which is characterised by its smaller hitting area of 90 square inches, heavy weight of 12.7 ounces, and thin beam of 18 millimeters. His grip size is 4 3/8 inches (sometimes referred to as L3). Federer strings his racquets at 24 to 28 kilograms tension utilizing Wilson Natural Gut 16 gauge for his main strings and Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 16L gauge (polyester) for his cross strings. When asked about string tensions, Federer stated "this depends on how warm the days are and with what kind of balls I play and against who I play. So you can see – it depends on several factors and not just the surface; the feeling I have is most important." (Wikipedia) (Photo Courtesy: Wilson)
Federer endorses Wilson tennis racquets and accessories with a lifetime contract along with Nike footwear and apparel. For the 2006 championships at Wimbledon, Nike designed a jacket emblazoned with a crest of three tennis racquets, symbolising the three Wimbledon Championships he had previously won, and which was updated the next year with four racquets after he won the Championship in 2006. In Wimbledon 2008 and again in 2009, Nike continued this trend by making him a personalised cardigan. He also has his own logo, an R and F joined together. (Photo courtesy: Nike) (Wikipedia)
Federer endorses Gillette, Jura, a Swiss-based coffee machine company, as well as Mercedes Benz and NetJets. Federer also endorses Rolex watches, although he was previously an ambassador for Maurice Lacroix. Due to his endorsement of Gillette with fellow 'Gillette Champions' Tiger Woods and Thierry Henry, Federer's December 2009 ATP defeat was linked with Woods' car crash the day before, and the Thierry Henry handball controversy nine days before that, in a so-called 'curse of Gillette'. (Photo courtesy: Gillette)(Wikipedia)