Arguably the greatest player in the history of tennis, Roger Federer was born on 8th August 1981 in Basel, Switzerland. His father Robert Federer is a Swiss and mother Lynette Federer is a South African, which made him eligible to play for both Switzerland and South Africa. He has an elder sister named Diana and holds dual citizenship of both Switzerland and South Africa.
Federer was successful at the junior level, winning a Wimbledon singles and doubles title and also becoming the Juniors World No.1 in 1998 before turning pro in the same year. Federer caught the eye of the globe in 2001 where he reached the French Open quarter-final and when he defeated Pete Sampras at Wimbledon to reach the quarter-final. Many realised in his match against Sampras that they were witnessing a special player in action but no one could have the imagined the success which Federer would taste in the coming years.
Federer would start his ascension to the top of world tennis in 2003, winning his maiden Grand Slam title at Wimbledon, seven ATP tournaments and finishing the season narrowly missing out on the World No. 1 spot to Andy Roddick. He would then enjoy a period of dominance in 2004 though, winning three out of the four Grand Slams and becoming the undisputed World No. 1. He consolidated on his dominance in 2005 winning the Wimbledon and French Open.
2006 would turn out to be the best season of Roger Federer’s career where he would end up winning a staggering 12 ATP singles tournaments on top of winning 3 Grand Slams at the Australian Open, Wimbledon and the US Open. He would repeat the feat again in 2007, reaching the final of all the four Grand Slams, again winning three of them, losing only the French Open final to Rafael Nadal, with whom he was quickly establishing a storied rivalry, believed to be the greatest in the history of tennis.
The rivalry would have its greatest chapter in the 2008 Wimbledon final, which is widely regarded as the greatest tennis singles match of all time, which Rafael Nadal ended up winning in five sets under the flashlights of cameras in near darkness in London. He would nonetheless have a semi-successful year by his standards, winning the US Open, his only Grand Slam of the year and the Olympic Gold in doubles with Stan Wawrinka for Switzerland at the Beijing Olympics.
In 2009, he would equal Pete Sampras’ record of 14 Grand Slam singles title by winning his maiden French Open, with which, he completed his career slam, winning all the four Grand Slam titles. He would then break Sampras’ record at Wimbledon in a five-set match against Andy Roddick in the Wimbledon final, which too is considered to be one of the greatest tennis matches of all time.
From 2010, Federer would start to witness a lean phase in his career winning only one Grand Slam in the calendar year, the Australian Open crown. He would also lose his No.1 ranking after being at the top for 285 consecutive weeks. The rough patch would continue into 2011 where he failed to win a Grand Slam for the first time since 2002. 2012 would turn out to be year of resurgence in some aspects for Federer though, as he would win a record equalling seventh Wimbledon title and return to World No. 1 for a brief period.
From 2013 onwards, Federer struggled with various injuries, mainly with his troublesome back. He would fail to win a Grand Slam in 2013, 2014, 2015 and 2016, despite reaching finals of Grand Slams and winning the Davis Cup for the first time in his career with Switzerland. He would have a long hiatus from tennis in 2016, after undergoing a major knee surgery. Most people believed that Federer’s days of winning Grand Slam tournaments were behind him and he would end up with 17 Grand Slams to his name. How wrong were they!
A 35-year old Roger Federer would stun one and all in 2017, dominating the calendar year so far. He would win the 18th Grand Slam of his career at the Australian Open after coming back after 6 months. No one gave him a chance of reaching the Australian Open final, forget winning it which was a similar scenario for his old nemesis, Rafael Nadal, against whom he would end up contesting in another classic match. He would end up winning the match in 5 sets. He would follow it up by completing the Sunshine double by winning back-to-back ATP 1000 tournaments at Indian Wells and Miami. He would then take a short break from tennis and skipped the French Open to prepare his body for the rigours of competing for a historic eighth Wimbledon title.
He was the heavy favourite to win the 2017 edition of the Wimbledon and would do so in style, winning his eighth title which would make him the man with the most Wimbledon crowns overtaking William Renshaw and Pete Sampras, who both had 7 titles to their names. He would win the title without breaking a sweat, not dropping a single set during the course of the tournament. This would be the first instance since Bjorn Borg won the Wimbledon title in 1976, that a player would win the tournament at the hallowed turfs of the All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club without dropping a single set. This would give him his 19th Grand Slam title and would erase any questions which lingered on whether he was the greatest tennis player of all time. That discourse was now a thing of the past, with the conversation now swiftly moving to whether he was the greatest sportsperson of all time.
He followed his dominance at the start of 2018, successfully defending his Australian Open crown and would also again become the No.1 ranked player in the world, the oldest man to do so.
Apart from his achievements on the court, Federer has also been lauded for his philanthropic activities, being heavily involved in various charities. He has his own foundation, the Roger Federer Foundation and is also heavily involved with UNICEF. His rise in the tennis world has also lead to the sport gaining unprecedented popularity and he is always among the lists of one of the highest paid athletes in the world.