Roger Federer, winner of 18 Grand Slams and world record holder for most number of weeks as World No. 1, has another unique thing about him. He is the father of two sets of identical twins!
The Swiss maestro is married to Mirka Vavrinec, herself a former professional tennis player. She retired from professional tennis in 2002, having reached a career high of 76 in the WTA World rankings. The two met while representing Switzerland at the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In 2009, Mirka gave birth to two identical daughters, named Myla Rose and Charlene Riva. In 2014, she again gave birth to twins, but this time two identical boys, who were named Leo and Lennart, the latter fondly called Lenny.
Have you ever imagined how cool it would be if Federer’s two pairs of twins teamed up in doubles tournaments in the future? Or if both sets of twins went on to play professional tennis or even represent Switzerland in the Davis or Fed Cup?
Other twins to have played the game
There is precedent for this kind of thinking, of course. America’s Bryan brothers, Mike and Bob, are the most men’s doubles pair of all time, winning 16 Grand Slams together. And they also happen to be near-identical twins! The Bryans held the World No. 1 rank for a record 425 weeks apart from finishing as the ATP World No. 1 doubles champions for a record 10 times.
When asked what to comment on the main reason for the Bryans’ success, their coach David Macpherson has been quoted by The Wall Street Journal as saying, “For every other team it’s a matter of time before one guy feels like the grass is greener, that he can find someone better. (But) there’s never any thought that Bob and Mike won’t be together for life. It helps you get through the bad times.”
Another example of twins playing tennis are the Pliskova sisters, Karolina and Krystyna. They have won three doubles titles together altready in their short career. Karolina has recently broken into the top 5 of the WTA rankings, and her sister would be hoping to follow suit.
The possibilities are endless and exciting
When Federer first announced the birth of his second set of twins in 2014, theories immediately started doing the rounds about what it would mean for tennis if all of his children picked up the racquet in the future. The Federer children would have three options before them: they could play singles separately, each pair could play doubles on the men’s and women’s tours, or they could even play mixed doubles as brother-sister duos.
This particular image, of a possible future scorecard showing a brother-sister pair on either side of the court at the Australian Open, went viral a year ago:
If the Federer children do indeed follow in their father’s footsteps, it may not be a stretch to imagine that they would replicate the success of the Bryan brothers. With genes like theirs, how can they not be brilliant on the tennis court?
The girls certainly seem very interested in the game too. They’ve been spotted at numerous matches played by their father, cheering him on with their adorable smiles and cute little waves. They ‘welcomed’ Federer at the 2012 Wimbledon quarterfinal when they were just three years old, as can be seen in this video:
The legendary Swiss himself makes it a point to acknowledge their presence when they are sitting courtside. At the Halle tournament in 2014, he kept waving and talking to them after the end of his match, making his love for them abundantly clear.
Of course, Federer has already been asked about the prospect of his children playing professional tennis in the future. But he was quoted by the The New York Times as saying, “Very slim? I’d love to see them play here one day, but they haven’t picked up their first racket yet. Still a bit too heavy for them.”
One thing is for certain, though: the world of tennis will be a better one with more Federers on the court!Published 13 Aug 2015, 18:47 IST