There is a saying that a good coach can change a game and a great coach can change a life. For the legendary tennis player Roger Federer, it was his former coach Peter Carter who recognized his talent but failed to see his ward becoming the greatest player of all time.
Just a week ahead before the start of his title defense at the Australian Open 2019 in Melbourne, the Swiss tennis star got emotional while talking about his former coach Peter Carter, who had passed away in a car accident in 2002. Carter died in a car crash while on his honeymoon in South Africa. The mishap happened just a year before Federer won his first Grand Slam title at the lush green Wimbledon.
Talking to CNN Sport, the 20-time Grand Slam champion recalled how the shocking news had changed his career forever.
“I hope he would be proud. I guess he didn’t want me to be a wasted talent. So, it was somewhat of a wake-up call for me when he passed away, and I really started to train hard,” said Federer, adding, “I’ve been incredibly fortunate to have the right people at the right time, the right coaches at the right time. Sure you could argue I made those decisions, but I had luck along the way.”
Roger Federer's inspirational former coach died in a car crash on his honeymoon in 2002.
Nearly two decades on, Federer still gets emotional when he talks about Peter Carter.
— CNN Sport (@cnnsport) January 7, 2019
In his interview, the 37-year-old recalled how his former coach played club tennis at Old Boys Tennis Club in Basel and spoke highly about the discovery of a special player. “It’s actually a really nice story. He came to play club tennis in Basel when I was little. He was one of the star players on the team. I was able to have coaching lessons with him. Carter was a close friend of world No 1 Simona Halep’s former coach Darren Cahill, who was coaching Lleyton Hewitt at the same time. They used to call each other and say, ‘I have this really special kid I’m training’. Darren would say the same from Adelaide and then we played each other when we were 14, 16, 18, 20 and then the whole career,” revealed Federer.
“Who knew we would both become Wimbledon champions, World No 1. So Peter was a really important person in my life because I think if I can say thanks for my technique today, it’s for Peter,” said Federer. The Swiss Maestro has been seeded third in this year’s first Grand Slam, while Serbia’s Novak Djokovic is the top seed for the tournament.