Already considered by many as the greatest player ever to have picked up a tennis racket, Roger Federer has won 12 Grand Slam tournaments, three Tennis Masters Cup titles and 14 ATP Master Series titles. Although particularly skilled on grass, he has proven so far in his career that he can triumph against any opponent under any conditions.
Named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for the last three consecutive years, the World Number One has won the Wimbledon Men’s Singles title for the last five consecutive years, equaling the record set by Bjorn Borg, which he could go on to break at next year’s competition.
Indeed, Federer has made a habit of breaking records and continues to raise the bar in professional tennis to lofty heights previously imagined unreachable. The Swiss tennis master is held in such high esteem by his compatriots, that he recently received the unparalleled honour of having a Swiss postage stamp created in his image, a feat that is usually only achieved by the long-lost national heroes of yesteryear.
Born in Basel in 1981, Federer began playing tennis at the tender age of six. He began group lessons at nine then private lessons a year later, the coaches having already seen ability within him that was worth nurturing. However, a young Federer was anything but sure that his future lay with tennis, and continued to dally in other sports such as football until he was 12, when he decided to focus solely on tennis.
By the time he was 14, Federer had already become a Swiss national champion and was given the opportunity to train at the Swiss National Tennis Centre at Ecublens. In 1998, he won the junior Wimbledon title and the Orange Bowl tournament, topping off an excellent year by being crowned the ITF World Junior Tennis Champion. Shortly after, Federer joined the Swiss Davis Cup team, debuting in a match-up against Italy, and became the youngest player that year in the ATP’s top 100 rankings.
From there, Federer continued to make waves, reaching the semifinals of the 2000 Sydney Olympics and finishing the year 29th in the world rankings. In 2001, he achieved his first ATP tournament victory in Milan, before reaching the quarterfinals at Wimbledon, defeating then World Number One Pete Sampras – ending his 31-match unbeaten run in the tournament – in a game that many now view as a passing of the baton from one great to the next.
Federer has won 12 Grand Slam titles (he is rapidly closing in on Pete Sampras’ record of 14), three Tennis Masters Cup titles and 14 ATP Masters Series titles.
He has won three of the four Grand Slam singles titles three times in the same calendar year (2004, 2006, and 2007).
He holds the men’s record for reaching ten consecutive Grand Slam final appearances, and is the only male player to have reached all four finals in a calendar year twice.
He has won Wimbledon for five consecutive years between 2003 and 2007, equalling the record held by Bjorn Borg, and has won the US Open in the last four seasons (2004 to 2007).
He has been ranked as the World Number One male seed for a record 197 consecutive weeks so far, beating Jimmy Connors’ previous record of 160 consecutive weeks as No. 1 men’s player in the world and Steffi Graff’s record of 186 weeks as No. 1 women’s player in the world.
Having won more than 52 competitive tournaments so for in his career, Federer has so far earned $35.9 million (£17.2 million), making him the highest earning player after Pete Sampras, who earned a total of $43.2 million (£20.7 million) during the course of his illustrious career.
Grand Slam Victories
- Wimbledon – 2003 (vs Mark Philippoussis), 2004 (vs Andy Roddick), 2005 (vs Andy Roddick), 2006 (vs Rafael Nadal), 2007 (vs Rafael Nadal)
- Australian Open – 2004 (vs Marat Safin), 2006 (vs Marcos Baghdatis), 2007 (vs Fernando Gonzalez)
- US Open – 2004 (vs Lleyton Hewitt), 2005 (vs Andre Agassi), 2006 (vs Andy Roddick), 2007 (vs Novak Dokovic)
Grand Slam Finals
- French Open – 2006 (vs Rafael Nadal), 2007 (vs Rafael Nadal)
Tennis Masters Cup Victories
- Houston – 2003 (vs Andre Agassi), 2004 (vs Lleyton Hewitt)
- Shanghai – 2006 (vs James Blake)
Tennis Masters Cup Finals
- Shanghai – 2005 (vs David Nalbandian)
ATP Masters Series Singles Victories
- Hamburg – 2002 (vs Marat Safin), 2004 (vs Guillermo Coria), 2005 (vs Richard Gasquet), 2007 (vs Rafael Nadal)
- India Wells – 2004 (vs Tim Henman), 2005 (vs Lleyton Hewitt), 2006 (vs James Blake)
- Toronto – 2004 (vs Andy Roddick), 2006 (vs Richard Gasquet)
- Miami – 2005 (vs Rafael Nadal), 2006 (vs Ivan Ljubicic)
- Cincinnati – 2005 (vs Andy Roddick), 2007 (vs James Blake)
- Madrid – 2006 (vs Fernando Gonzalez)
ATP Masters Series Singles Finals
- Miami – 2002 (Andre Agassi)
- Rome – 2003 (Felix Mantilla), 2006 (Rafael Nadal)
- Monte Carlo – 2006 (Rafael Nadal), 2007 (Rafael Nadal)
- Montreal – 2007 (Novak Dokovic)
- Madrid – 2007 (David Nalbandian)
He’s probably as close as has been to unbeatable. I don’t know many people in history who would beat him – Andy Roddick, having just lost a second consecutive Wimbledon final to the star.
He’s the most gifted player that I’ve ever seen in my life. I’ve seen a lot of people play. I’ve seen the (Rod) Lavers, I played against some of the great players – the Samprases, Beckers, Connors, Borg. You name it. This guy could be the greatest of all time. That, to me, says it all – John McEnroe ‘says it all’ after Federer’s 2004 US Open victory.
He’s an artist on this surface. He can stay back. He can come in. No weaknesses. Federer could win Wimbledon six, seven, eight times. If he continues the way he has been doing and stays away from injuries and still has the motivation, he will be the greatest player ever – Bjorn Borg at Wimbledon 2007.
This is probably my most dominant grand slam victory and it’s already my 10th in such a short period of time. I amazed myself – Following his Australian Open win.
I would honestly rather lose to the same guy twice than lose to two different guys. I think if I lost to two different players I would think I wasn’t playing well, but with one guy I can think ‘OK, this guy is on a roll’. It’s just easier to digest – Having lost to Guillermo Canas at India Wells and Miami.
All four of those are on grass, whereas I have to play some on a hard court! – Federer explains why winning all four tennis grand slams is harder for him than it is for Tiger Woods to win in golf.
I would so like to be Lenny Kravitz – Federer considers a possible career change?