A phenomenon. A walking piece of art. Roger Federer and his aura was so much more than that of just another tennis ace or sportsperson. There were moments that froze us to the spot where we stood and forced us to admire his artistry as a player. There were moments where he gave us life lessons that transcended beyond his work place. Moments throughout his career that spanned across four decades. Moments caught on camera that we can revisit and cherish for the rest of our days. The Indian Express puts together a list of 10 that can’t be missed.
1998 Boys’ singles Wimbledon title
“This is the winner of the boys’ here…..Federer from Switzerland,” says the commentator as he emerges to hold the silverware atop. Roger Federer’s journey at the grass court has been a remarkable one comprising of eight men’s singles titles. But it all started in 1998, when a 16-year-old Federer won the junior title in whites defeating Georgia’s Irakli Labadze in the final.
Shots that defied mortal science
What’s science got to do when it comes to magic, when it comes to Roger Federer. From lob shots out of nowhere to sensual touches with just the perfect amount of air given to the green tennis ball, the Swiss international gave us mortals plenty of science denying shots, a compilation of which Tennis TV has put up on Twitter so that we never ever forget them.
The ball boy that won
“When my love of tennis started, I was a ball kid in my hometown of Basel. I used to watch the players with a sense of wonder,” Federer said in his farewell note. The 41-year-old has mentioned before that at heart he is always going to a ball boy, further emphasising on how important a role that was in shaping his career. In an ATP Tour video on YouTube, Federer talks about how his mom, Lynette, who was a tennis enthusiast and was associated with the Swiss Indoors Championship tournament, used to take him to the venue near their ancestral home in Basel to be a ball boy.
Breaking down while talking about first coach, Peter Carter
When he first turned pro, Federer had Australia’s Peter Carter coaching him. Federer had seen Carter as a player during his ball boy days at Swiss Indoors Basel and has mentioned it on-air that his tennis technique was the result of the time he spent with Carter. Tragedy however struck the Australian before Federer won his first slam as Carter passed away in a car crash on his honeymoon in 2002. In an interview with the CNN back in 2019, Federer broke down while talking about his first coach and said, “I hope he would be proud, I guess he didn’t want me to be a wasted talent. I guess it (Peter’s death) was a wake-up call for me when he passed away.”
The young boy who lobbed Roger Federer
As long as his career has been, it wasn’t every day that you saw Roger Federer being lobbed. Certainly not by kid. But it happened in 2015 during an exhibition match at the Maddison Square Garden in New York. Grigor Dimitrov playing Federer, into the third set gave his racquet to a young boy from the crowd to go against his Swiss competitor. A rally of seven ended in the most unexpected of ways as the boy forced the 33-year-old all the way towards the net to lob one over him and earn a point. Federer, with his shirt in his mouth, laughed as the stadium rang with a huge roar of applause.
The Tennis world has experienced two huge losses to the sport with Serena Williams and Roger Federer’s retirements one after the other. So it is only fair that we revisit the moment the two giants of the game, who share 43 grand slams between each other, crossed paths on the tennis court at the Hopman Cup in 2019. The pair had come up against each other in a competitive match for the first time ever, with Federer and Belinda Bencic emerging triumphant from the mixed doubles rubber. It was after the match that in a joint interview, the duo kept praising each other with the cheers at the venue only growing louder. The interaction ended with a selfie, a moment Serena recently shared on her Instagram while penning her tribute to Federer.
Nadal coaching Federer
Here we go. We have begun with the Rafael Nadal-Roger Federer moments, they can have a list of their own but for now we’ll stick with this. One of the most fascinating aspects of the Laver Cup has been watching Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal on the same side of the court, even more so with one coaching another. During the 2019 Laver Cup, with Federer down a set to Nick Kyrgios, Rafael Nadal brought out some statistics and a pep talk to help his longtime rival/buddy engineer a comeback. Federer ended up winning the match 6-7, 7-5, 10-7 to give his heavily favored Europe side a 5-3 lead.
Nadal-Federer blooper reel
An ad starring Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal? Who wouldn’t watch it? In 2010, the duo shot an advert for a tennis exhibition match in Switzerland titles as ‘The Match for Africa’ to raise money to fund schooling, transport and food for children in Africa. But it was difficult ad to shoot in the first place as the duo lined up a set of bloopers, giggling and forgetting their lines. Perhaps the most relatable we have felt to the two legends of the game.
The Instagram live
This is the last one featuring the duo, we promise. As the world was coming to terms with the Covid-19 pandemic, with a global shutdown, the Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer shared screens on an Instagram live. Out in the public domain but as personal as it could’ve been. The two asked each other about their health, their families and just how they were getting used to the new normal. Just the kind of lockdown content everyone needed and it all started with the duo finding it hard to connect on the medium. “We are old enough for all these things,” Nadal would say as Federer agreed and shared a laugh with the former.
Having been out of action owing to knee issues and not participating at the 2022 Wimbledon didn’t mean that Roger Federer wouldn’t show up to the Centre Court. The Swiss featured with all the swagger for 100th year celebrations along with a host of former winners. Walking in suited in black, donning white sneakers, the eight-time grass court men’s singles champion walked in to a huge round of applause. “I’ve been lucky enough to play a lot of matches on this court,” the 40-year-old said in the on-court ceremony. “It’s great to be here with all the other champions. This court has given me my biggest wins and my biggest losses.”