Roger Federer was born in Basel, Switzerland, on 8 August 1981. His father Robert Federer is Swiss, while his mother Lynetter Federer is a South African. According to many experts and fellow players, Roger Federer is considered to be the greatest tennis player in the history of the game. He has managed to win 18 Grand Slam titles, a record number in men’s tennis – seven Wimbledon titles, five Australian Open titles, five US Open titles and one French Open title. This fact puts him in the group of only eight tennis players that have won a career Grand Slam. Apart from capturing 18 Grand Slam titles, he has played in another 10 Grand Slam finals. With 91 singles titles won, he is in 3rd place in the entire Open Era, right after Jimmy Connors and Ivan Lendl. He has also added 8 doubles titles.
Federer held the No. 1 spot of the ATP rankings for a record 302 weeks, out of which were 237 consecutive weeks. He is currently ranked as the 5th tennis player in the world.
Ever since his early ages, Federer was fascinated with tennis and card games. He used to spend hours and hours watching it on TV. Boris Becker was one of his childhood idols. Soon after he started attending school, he enrolled into one of the local tennis clubs. At the age of six, he was already training several times a week. It did not take much time for his trainers to notice the enormous potential he had. Soon after, he began receiving private tennis lessons. According to the statements given by some of his former trainers, Federer needed only couple of tries to master a certain move, while his peers needed weeks or months. Apart from tennis, he was interested in other sports at that time – football, squash, table tennis etc. Until the age of 12, he trained football parallel with tennis. But at that time, he decided to put his entire focus only on tennis. When he was 14 years old, Federer became the national junior champion in Switzerland. However, his major junior breakthrough came in 1998, his final year in junior category. He won both singles and doubles title at Wimbledon, both in straight sets. He played in the final of the junior US Open as well, but lost to David Nalbandian, another big talent at the time. And after claiming the title in the Orange Bowl Tennis Championship, a prestigious competition in the junior category, he was voted as the World Junior Tennis champion of the year.
At the age of 16, he joined the professional circuit in 1998. His first two tournaments in senior category were not much of a success. He played in front of his home crowd in Gstaad and Geneva and lost in first rounds in both of them, against less known players Lucas Arnold Ker of Argentina and Orlin Stanoytchev from Bulgaria respectively. Federer had to wait for his first ATP final until 2000. It happened at the ATP 250 tournament in Marseille. On his way to the final, he eliminated couple of notable players of that time – Thomas Johansson, Ivan Ljubicic and Fabrice Santoro. He faced his fellow Swiss Marc Rosset in the final, but lost 1-2 in sets. Federer’s Grand Slam debut came in 1999. He recorded losses in first rounds of the French Open and Wimbledon, against Patrick Rafter and Jiri Novak, respectively. In the same year, he performed for the Swiss Davis Cup team for the first time. Unfortunately for him, another loss. This time, against Italian representative, Gianluca Pozzi. Together with Martina Hingis, Federer won Hopman Cup competition in 2000. He also represented Switzerland at the 2000 Sidney Olympics. He reached the semi-finals, but lost to German Tommy Haas in straight sets. In the bronze medal match, he once again lost, against the French player Arnaud Di Pasquale. While playing in Sidney, Federer met his future wife Mirka Vavrinec. Due to foot injury, Vavrinec was obliged to end her tennis career in 2002. Starting from then, she has taken the role in Federer’s team as his public relations manager and accompanies him in most of his tournaments. The two have married in 2009 and have four children, two sets of twins – girls Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, born in 2009, and boys Leo and Lennart, born in 2014. Roger Federer’s first ATP title came in 2001, at the ATP 250 Milan Indoor tournament. He defeated Julien Boutter from France in the final, after previously eliminating Rainer Schuttler, Goran Ivanisevic and Yevgeny Kafelnikov in the earlier rounds of that competition. In 2001, Federer played against Pete Sampras in the 4th round of Wimbledon. It was their only meeting and the Swiss youngster won in a very exciting 5-sets match. It was a big sensation at the time, considering the fact Sampras was a 7-time Wimbledon champion, with 31 wins in a row at the tournament. Federer proceeded to the quarter-finals, but lost to British Tim Henman.
Federer’s first title from the Masters 1000 series came in 2002. It was in Hamburg, where he managed to outplay former No. 1 tennis player in the world, Russian Marat Safin. He ended the 2002 season as the 6th player in the ATP rankings.
In terms of results, 2003 was first above average season for Federer. After Marat Safin and Lleyton Hewitt got eliminated at the early stages of Australian Open, it seemed as Federer could win his first Major in Melbourne. However, David Nalbandian did not think so. He eliminated the Swiss in five sets. After that relatively unsuccessful episode in Australia, Roger won two tournaments on hard surface – Marseille and Dubai. Then came the clay court part of the season. Roger started it well and won ATP 250 tournament in Munich. His opponent in the final was Jarkko Nieminen from Finland. After reaching the Rome Masters 1000 final, where he, completely unexpectedly, lost to an unseeded player from Spain, Felix Mantilla, Federer was considered to be one of the favorites to claim the title at the French Open. His first round adversary was Luis Horna from Peru. And once again a disappointment for Federer. The Peruan player eliminated him in straight sets. It was not Federer’s day. He made total of 82 unforced errors. However, it did not take him long to recover. Couple of weeks after the Roland Garros loss, he played in Halle, Germany, on grass surface. After reaching the finals, he did not have any particular problems with domestic player Nicolas Kiefer. That was his first title on the grass courts. And then there was Wimbledon. First three rounds were not much of a challenge for Federer. In the 4th round match against Spaniard Feliciano Lopez, Federer suffered a back injury, but managed to qualify for the quarter finals. Due to rain delays that lasted for two days, he had time to treat his injury. In the quarter finals Federer defeated Sjeng Schalken from the Netherlands and the American talent Andy Roddick in the semis. He entered the final and became the first Swiss male tennis player who reached the final of any of the Grand Slams. Only the Australian star Mark Philippoussis stood between Federer and his first Major trophy. But not for long. Roger claimed the title by winning in straight sets, 7-6, 6-2, 7-6. That win gave him a status of national hero in Switzerland. His 6th title of the year came in ATP 500 tournament in Vienna. He was too strong against former world No. 1 Carlos Moya on that day. And it seems that Federer left his best for the end of the season. The Tennis Masters Cup in Houston featuring eight top players of the year. Federer defeated Andre Agassi, David Nalbandian and Juan Carlos Ferrero in the group stage; then Andy Roddick and finally Andre Agassi once again to claim his first Masters Cup trophy. Eventually, he ended the 2003 season in the 2nd place of ATP ranking, right after Andy Roddick. During this year, Federer established the Roger Federer Foundation, in order to promote disadvantaged children’s access to sports and education.
In the following 2004 season, Federer has won three out of four Grand Slam titles – Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He became the first tennis player who won three Grand Slams in one year, since Mats Wilander in 1988. He ended the year with eleven singles titles. What is even more impressive is the fact he won every single final he played in. His only fail was the 2004 Athens Olympics, where he was considered to be the top contestant for the gold medal. Nonetheless, he lost his second round match against Thomas Berdych from Czech Republic, a future top 10 player in the ATP rankings. In February of 2004, Federer reached the No. 1 spot in the ATP rankings for the first time.
In terms of results, Roger Federer’s 2005 season was one of the most impressive ones in the Open Era. He repeated his success from the previous season after once again winning 11 singles titles. He added two more Grand Slam trophies to his collection – Wimbledon and the US Open. He reached the semi finals in Australia and in Paris. He suffered an ankle injury in the second half of the season, which obliged him to skip couple of tournaments. Tennis Masters Cup was played in Shanghai this season. Federer stormed into the final, but he could not go pass David Nalbandian, who stopped him in winning his third consecutive title in this competition. Regardless of that, Federer finished the season with the record of 81 wins and only 4 losses.
In 2006, Federer’s figures improved even more. He played in the final matches of all four Grand Slam tournaments and won three of them – Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. Rafael Nadal defeated him in the French Open final and prevented him in winning the calendar year Grand Slam. This was their first out of many encounters in the Grand Slam finals. With 12 new trophies in his cabinet and a win-loss record of 92-5, this most definitely was one of the most successful seasons in Federer’s career.
Federer repeated his 2006 Grand Slam stats in 2007 as well. He reached the final of all four. In Australia, he claimed the title without losing a single set in the entire tournament. In preparations for the French Open, Federer defeated Nadal in Hamburg Masters 1000 final and ended his winning streak of 81 matches without a loss on clay surface. The expectations at Roland Garros were high. And as the competition progressed, it seemed like Federer was up to the challenge. On his way to the final, Federer lost only one set. But once again, Rafael Nadal has proven to be an insurmountable obstacle for the Swiss. The Spanish player triumphed 3-1 in sets. It was the match where Federer used only 1 out of his 17 break points. Regardless of that loss, Federer ended his 4th season in a row as the highest ranked tennis player in the world. He managed to win 8 titles, including the Tennis Masters Cup. His win-loss record for the year was 68-9.
The 2008 season was a bit modest for Federer’s standards. He won only one Grand Slam title, the US Open. In the spring of 2008, Federer admitted that he was suffering from mononucleosis, possibly from December of 2007. According to his own words, that condition led to a serious decrease in his physical shape. He reached another Roland Garros final, and suffered a heavy loss against Nadal. This time, the Spaniard allowed him to take only four games in the match. In the 2008 Beijing Olympics, playing with his team mate Stanislas Wawrinka, Roger won the gold medal in doubles competition. He concluded the season with the final Masters tournament in Shanghai, but did not even make it through the group stage.
Without any doubt, Federer will always remember 2009 season. This was the year when he claimed his first title at the French Open. He used the fact that Swedish player Robin Soderling eliminated Rafael Nadal in the earlier stages of the tournament. The Swiss simply could not miss this chance – it was a 3-0 win. By doing that, he has completed his career Grand Slam. Following his success in Paris, Federer went to Wimbledon. The spectators could see an epic final duel between Roger Federer and Andy Roddick. It was a five-set match and Federer won it 16-14. By doing so, Federer claimed his 15th Grand Slam title, and broke the record previously held by Pete Sampras, who had fourteen of them. Apart from that, he once again climbed to the very top of the ATP rankings and moved Rafael Nadal to the second place.
Season 2010 started in a promising way. Federer won another Australian Open title, his 16th Grand Slam trophy in total. However, the rest of the year was close to average. The Swiss came back to the French Open as a defending champion. Robin Soderling returned him a favor from previous edition of the tournament and defeated him in the quarter-finals. After getting eliminated in the same stage at Wimbledon by Thomas Berdych, Federer dropped to the 3rd place in the general rankings, his lowest position since 2003. Nonetheless, Federer ended the season with 5 trophies, including the ATP World Tour Finals in London, where he showed a very convincing performance and won all of his matches.
The following 2011 season was the first since 2003 in which Federer did not win any Grand Slam title. However, we cannot say the season was a complete fail. He did win four titles – Doha, Basel, Paris and the World Tour Finals. He also reached the final at Roland Garros, after previously eliminating Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals. Prior to that match, Djokovic had not suffered a single loss in the season, and held a perfect 43-0 score. Rafael Nadal was waiting for him and once again, the Spaniard triumphed in four sets.
Two notable moments happened in 2012. The first one was at Wimbledon, where Federer won 17th Grand Slam in his career, after defeating the British hope Andy Murray in the final match. It was also his 7th Wimbledon trophy. Winning here meant that Federer regained the no. 1 spot in the ATP rankings. Only maybe a month later, Federer returned to London for the 2012 Summer Olympics. In the semi-final match of the tournament, Federer played another classic. This time, against Juan Martin del Potro from Argentina. It was a real thriller, and Federer eventually won the deciding set with 19-17. But that was it. Andy Murray was eager to repay the debt from the Wimbledon final. And much to the delight of the large number of home crowd, Murray won the gold medal for his country. Federer had to settle with the silver. Four years earlier, Federer and Wawrinka won the gold medal in doubles competition. This time, the two ended their campaign in the second round. Federer ended the season with 6 titles and a season record of 71 wins and 12 losses.
Throughout the large part of 2013 season, Federer had problems with his back injury. That significantly affected his form and performances in tournaments. He did not reach any of the Grand Slam finals and won only one title, the one at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany. With a 45-17 season record and a drop to 7th place in the ATP rankings, this was definitely the season Federer wanted to forget.
In 2014, a great achievement for both Federer and his national Davis Cup team. Switzerland qualified for the final duel against France. The match was played in Lille. Only couple of days before the finals, Roger Federer had to withdraw from the ATP World Tour Finals because of the back injury. Therefore, it was very arguable whether he will be able to deliver his top performance or not. It did not start well for him, because Gael Monfils defeated him without any difficulties. But this time, Stanislas Wawrinka was on top of his game. He outplayed Jo Wilfried Tsonga in the first match of the duel and then, together with Federer, earned a second point for his team while playing the doubles. The deciding match was played between Richard Gasquet and Federer. The Swiss scored a very convincing win in straight sets and help Switzerland win their first, and for now, only Davis Cup title. Apart from the national success, Federer played in the Wimbledon final, but lost to Novak Djokovic.
At the start of 2015 season another worth mentioning accomplishment. Federer started his season in Brisbane, won the title and reached his 1000th ATP win in his career. At the beginning of clay court season, Federer won the title at the Istanbul Open, which was his first trophy on this type of surface since 2009, when he won Roland Garros. At the Grand Slams, Federer played the finals of Wimbledon and the US Open. In both of those occasions, Novak Djokovic outplayed him. Furthermore, the two rivals played in the ATP World Tour Finals final match, and the Serb continued his season’s winning streak against Federer, with 3-6 and 4-6 win. Eventually, Federer ended the year with 6 calendar titles, and a season record of 63 wins and 11 losses.
Federer missed most of the 2016 season due to knee injury. He appeared at only seven tournaments in the entire season. After his semi-final loss at Wimbledon against Milos Raonic from Canada, he decided to take a rest until the end of the year, because he did not want to risk to worse his injury. This was the first time since 2000 that Federer did not win any singles titles in the calendar year. Also, he ended the year as the 16th player on the ATP list – first time since 2002 that Federer was not a part of the top 10 elite.
With almost being 36 years old, Federer found his second ‘tennis youth’ in 2017. Fully recovered of injuries that troubled him in 2016, he delivered his top class performances at the Australian Open and captured his 18th Grand Slam, after defeating Rafael Nadal in the five – set final duel. He added Masters 1000 titles at Indian Wells and Miami to the list and suffered his only loss of the year in Dubai, against qualifier Evgeny Donskoy from Russia. Federer decided to skip the entire clay court part of the season, in order to welcome grass-court tournaments fully prepared. It appeared to be a good decision to make. Although he lost his first match of the year on grass surface, against Tommy Haas in Stuttgart, Roger recovered fast and won his 92nd career title in Halle, before entering Wimbledon, as one of the favorites to win the competition. And he did not disappoint. He entered the final without losing a single set. The only thing that stood between Roger and his 19th Grand Slam title was Marin Cilic from Croatia. The Croat, who won the US Open in 2014, had high hopes for this match, after eliminating Gilles Muller and Sam Querrey on his way to the final. But Roger was simply too good. He won the match in straight sets (6 – 3, 6 – 1 and 6 – 4), and once again proved himself as probably the greatest tennis player of all times.
Throughout the course of his career, Roger Federer has had couple of rivalries that produced some of the best matches in modern tennis history. Allow me to mention just couple of them.
His rivalry with Rafael Nadal will definitely be on the top of the list. With 37 matches between the two, Nadal leads 23-14. Most of those matches were played on clay, and the result is 13-2 in favor of the Spaniard. They have played against each other in 23 tournament finals. Nine of those finals were played at the Grand Slams.
With 45 matches in total, Federer’s rivalry with Novak Djokovic is one of the largest in tennis history. Djokovic currently leads 23-22.
Federer leads 14-11 against Andy Murray. They have never met on clay.
And last but not the least, Federer’s rivalry against former American ace Andy Roddick. Prior to Roddick’s retirement in 2012, the two have met 24 times. Roger holds the domination, with 21-3 ratio.
As far as his playing style is concerned, Federer is considered to be an all-round tennis player. In the most of his career, he delivered some outstanding shots from the baseline. But lately, he started using more of serve-volleying style of play. His single-handed backhand is probably one of the best in the history of the game.
With the estimated yearly revenues of 50-60 million Euros, Federer is one of the highest – earning athletes on the planet. Some of his sponsors include Nike, Rolex, Gillete, Mercedes-Benz and many others.
For his behavior on and off the court, his results and playing style, Roger Federer will definitely be remembered as one of the favorite tennis players of all times.