Roger Federer ‘distinguished figure’ in tennis history

September 18, 2022, 3:50 pm

ANKARA – Tennis legend Roger Federer, nicknamed the "Swiss Maestro," announced that he would end his decorated career that includes 20 Grand Slam singles titles, after the Laver Cup later this month.

He became a distinguished figure in tennis history with his professionalism, cool demeanor, on and off the court, and versatility.

Early career

Federer was born Aug. 8, 1981, in Basel, Switzerland to his Swiss-German father, Robert Federer, and South Afrikaner mother, Lynette Federer.

He made his professional debut at the 1998 Swiss Open Gstaad against Lucas Arnold Ker, losing in the first round.

His first eye-opener performance was at the 2001 Wimbledon Championships, where 19-year-old Federer beat four-time defending champion and all-time Grand Slam leader Pete Sampras in a five-set match to reach the quarterfinals. English Tim Henman eliminated Federer in a fourth-set tiebreaker in the quarterfinals.

His first Grand Slam singles title win was at Wimbledon in 2003 where he beat Australian Mark Philippoussis in the final.

Climbing to top

After his 2003 Wimbledon title, the next year was fantastic for the Swissman. He won Wimbledon, the Australian Open and the US Open by defeating Marat Safin, Andy Roddick and Lleyton Hewitt in the finals, respectively. He finished the year ranked as the World’s no.1 player.

The following year, after losing in the semifinal of the Australian Open to eventual champion, Safin, and the French Open semifinal to eventual champion, Rafael Nadal, Federer clinched Wimbledon and the US Open singles titles by defeating Andy Roddick and Andre Agassi in the finals, respectively.

In 2006, Federer set the bar higher for a career-best season as he reached the finals in 16 of 17 tournaments he entered and won 12 singles titles during the season.

Other than losing to Nadal at the 2006 French Open final, he claimed the three other Grand Slams by beating Nadal in the Wimbledon final, Marcos Baghdatis at the Australian Open and Roddick in the US Open.

The next season was almost identical for Federer in the Grand Slams as he again won three of the major men's titles and became the only player in history to win three major tennis titles in a year for three years (2004, 2006, 2007).

He eliminated Fernando Gonzalez at the 2007 Australian Open final but went on to lose to Nadal in the French Open final.

Federer and Nadal clashed again at Wimbledon in 2007. In one of the greatest finals in tournament history, Federer outlasted Nadal for the victory.

Health issues, Olympic gold

2008 did not start well for Federer as he suffered from a lingering bout of mononucleosis which hurt his play for the first months of the year.

Despite winning the singles title at the US Open against Andy Murray, Federer was eliminated by Nadal at the French Open and Wimbledon. He also lost to eventual winner Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Australian Open.

Federer and compatriot, Stan Wawrinka, clinched gold in men's doubles at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in a match against Sweden's Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson.

At the end of 2008, he suffered a back injury.

Federer reached another historic achievement in 2009 when he won his first and ever French Open singles title against Robin Soderling of Sweden, who eliminated his arch-rival Nadal in the fourth round. He completed a "Career Slam" with that achievement -- winning all four majors at least once.

At Wimbledon 2009, he took down Roddick in the final to win his sixth title and ended the season ranked no. 1 for the fifth time in his career.

Until his 2012 Wimbledon win against Julien Benneteau of France, Federer did not win any majors, except for the 2010 Australian Open singles title against Andy Murray from Britain.

He won silver in the men's singles at the 2012 London Olympics, after losing to Murray in the final.

He reached his 300th week at no. 1 the same year.

Fall in rankings, second wind

Federer could not win any major titles in the years that followed because of injury struggles. He returned empty-handed from the 2015 US Open and Wimbledon finals.

His second wind began with the 2017 Australian Open title against Nadal.

He then clinched his eighth Wimbledon title by defeating Croatian Marin Cilic in the 2017 final. The two rivals clashed again in the 2018 Australian Open final, where Federer was victorious and it marked his 20th Grand Slam title.

In 2019, Roger Federer got his 100th title, 1,200th match win and made it to his 12th Wimbledon final but could not secure any majors.

Again, struggling from injuries in the twilight of his career, he occasionally did not enter major tournaments until he finally announced his retirement Sept. 15 on Twitter at age 41.

Playstyle, legacy

Federer is famous for his versatility. He is regarded as an all-court, all-around player.

His speed, fluid style, exceptional shot placement and powerful, accurate smashes, helped him become one of the best on the court.

His cool demeanor and emotional control, especially in the latter stages of his career, was a trademark element for a player of his caliber.

The backhand smash, skyhook, half-volley, jump smash (slam dunk) and SABR -- Sneak Attack By Roger, a half-volley attack on an opponent's second serve -- are other rare elements of his play.

Federer is very popular and considered one of the greatest players of all time by many.

In 2003, he established the Roger Federer Foundation to help disadvantaged children and promote their access to education and sport. listed him as the greatest male player of the Open Era in 2018.

In 2021, Serena Williams, considered one of the greatest female players in history, described him as a "genius" and the "greatest."

He had several nicknames, including the "Federer Express" (shortened to "Fed Express" or "FedEx"), the "Swiss Maestro" and "King Roger."

Basel inaugurated a tram named the "Federer-Express" in October 2021. (Anadolu)