Roger Federer has, for the last decade and a half, been a near-perfect ambassador of tennis. Winner of a record 20 Grand Slams and holder of numerous other records, the Swiss maestro has turned an entire generation into devotees and brought even casual watchers into the fold of tennis fandom.
Federer's stylish play and gentlemanly behavior have enhanced his standing even further, to the point that he was once voted the second most respected individual in the world (after Nelson Mandela).
Best finish at each of the four Grand Slams:
Australian Open: 6-time Champion (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018)
French Open: Champion (2009)
Wimbledon: 8-time Champion (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017)
US Open: 5-time Champion (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)
Highest Ranking: No. 1
No. of weeks at No. 1: 310
Style of play, strengths and weaknesses
Federer is an aggressive player who likes to take the ball on the rise and finish points early. Although he started out as an all-courter, winning his first Wimbledon title largely from the forecourt, he retreated to the baseline as the sport gradually became less conducive to all-out attack.
Federer's forehand is his dominant wing, and he imparts a huge of amount of topspin to it with an unconventional grip. It is considered one of the greatest forehands in the history of tennis, and one of the most destructive weapons ever seen on the court.
Federer's backhand, a one-hander, is well-known for its elegance and beauty but has been exposed as a liability by players who attack it with a lot of spin and bounce - most notably Rafael Nadal. He has improved it over the years, memorably unleashing a slew of backhand winners to win the 2017 Australian Open, but it remains the weakest part of his game.
The serve is an important weapon in Federer's arsenal. Although he can't match the speed that the giants of the sport like John Isner and Ivo Karlovic can generate, Federer's disguise, accuracy and variation help him win a ton of free points in almost every match.
Federer's defensive abilities have declined over the years. While he used to be very quick around the court during his prime, in recent times he has relied more on reflexes and anticipation while trying to stave off stronger opponents.
Significant Roger Federer records
Federer has a huge list of records to his name. Here are the most noteworthy of those:
- Most Grand Slams of all time: 20
- Most Grand Slam finals: 30
- Most weeks as World No. 1: 310
- Most consecutive weeks (male or female) as World No. 1: 237
- Only male player to have won 3 different Slams 5 times (6 AO, 8 Wimbledon, 5 USO)
- Most consecutive Grand Slam finals, semifinals and quarterfinals: 10, 23 and 36 respectively
- Most Wimbledon titles: 8
- Oldest player to be ranked World No. 1 (36 years)
- Most year-end championship titles: 6
- Most matches played on the ATP tour without retiring
- Most consecutive finals won: 24
Federer was born in Basel, Switzerland, and has mixed heritage (and dual citizenship) - his father is Swiss and mother is South African. He grew up playing a variety of sports in addition to tennis, such as football, badminton and basketball.
Federer used to be a hothead in his early years, but as his career progressed he earned the reputation of being ice-cool on the court. Many attribute that change to the death of Federer's long-time coach Peter Carter (in 2002, to a car accident). The tragedy impacted Federer a great deal, and his demeanor became noticeably calmer in its wake.
Federer is married to former tennis pro Mirka Vavrinec, whom he met during the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. The couple have two sets of identical twins - twin girls born in 2009, and twin boys born in 2014. The entire Federer family - his parents Robert and Lynette, wife Mirka and the Federer kids Myla Rose, Charlene Riva, Lenny and Leo - are often seen in the stands during his matches, cheering him on.
Rivalries and legacy
The Federer vs Nadal rivalry is one of the most talked-about stories in the history of tennis. Nadal was the first player to mount a serious challenge to Federer's domination, and to this date has an upper hand in the head-to-head count.
The two have shared many epic battles over the course of their careers. The Federer-Nadal final at Wimbledon 2008 is widely regarded as the greatest match of all time, and there has even been a documentary titled 'Strokes of Genius' made on it.
Federer's legacy, however, is largely independent of his match-ups and struggles against fellow greats Nadal and Djokovic. During Federer's peak, from 2004 to 2007, his supremacy was nearly absolute; he was ranked No. 1 in each of those years, and won 11 out of a possible 16 Slams during the staggering run. That makes him possibly the most unique champion in the history of men's tennis; no other player has ever had such a sustained run of dominance in the game.
In addition to that, Federer's artistic style of play has earned him plaudits from both experts and fans. He is one of the very few athletes to have combined effortless grace with supremely consistent results. And the fact that he has done so while comporting himself with dignity both on and off the court, has endeared him to the world at large; he is the crowd favorite wherever he goes.
Federer is also very well-liked among his peers, having won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship award (which is voted for by all the ATP players) a record 13 times.
Social media presence:
Roger Federer Instagram: @rogerfederer
Roger Federer Twitter: @rogerfederer