Roger Federer (41) is retiring this week as a tennis player in the Laver Cup. We revisit his remarkable career in twelve unforgettable moments.
The Swiss made his ATP tour debut in 1998, when he was awarded a wild card for the Gstaad Tournament when he was 16 years old. Three years later, at Wimbledon, he already ended the winning streak of Pete Sampras, who was undefeated on London grass in 31 consecutive matches.
There was immediately talk of a changing of the guard and this also applies to relations in Swiss tennis. Where the years of Martina Hingis’ success ended, the country secured a new champion in men’s tennis with Federer.
They even played together in a team competition, successfully. At the end of 2001, they awarded Switzerland the Hopman Cup, against Monica Seles and Jean-Michael Gambill, who then played for the United States.
Federer won his first of 20 Grand Slam titles in 2003, defeating service cannon Mark Philippoussis at Wimbledon. In the quarter-finals, Federer settled with Dutchman Sieng Schalken during that tournament.
Where Federer and later Novak Djokovic thrived on hard surfaces, the era of gravel king Rafael Nadal began as well. With mutual duels as absolute highlights.
Tears in Melbourne
In 2009, Federer was able to equalize Sampras’ 14 Grand Slam titles during the Australian Open, but Nadal put an end to that. Federer then burst into tears, unaware he would pass Sampras later that year.
Federer won Roland Garros in 2009 by leaving Nadal’s complete winner without a chance in the final with Robin Soderling. He was also the strongest at Wimbledon.
2009: Federer finally defeated Roland Garros
However, the last fight at the 2009 US Open was remarkable, when Federer unexpectedly lost to Juan Martin del Potro. This was the only one of his 11 losing Grand Slam finals in which neither Nadal nor Djokovic was the contender.
A month after Federer won his seventh Wimbledon final in 2012, the rematch against Andy Murray was a disappointment. Because the Olympics were in London, tennis was played on Wimbledon grass. But now Murray has won.
The Olympic singles title will forever be missing from Federer’s honor list.
Federer won another award in 2014 that was missing from his now rich comfort. With Switzerland he won the Davis Cup, because with Stan Wawrinka he secured victory over France from Gael Monfils, Richard Gasquet and Julien Benneteau.
Federer became a living legend and continued to peak through a somewhat more selective calendar into his old age. Although his body started to struggle more and more.
At the beginning of 2018, he reached his first twenty Grand Slam titles, by taking on Marin Cilic in Melbourne. He was unparalleled in men’s tennis at the time, although Nadal and Djokovic have now surpassed him.
The record that still stands is the world’s oldest ever record. And he succeeded in 2018 on Dutch soil, when he promised to participate in the ABN Amro tournament in Rotterdam at the last minute.
Score the necessary points against Robin Haas. For the Dutchman, that match became torment, because he did not want to deprive Federer of that glorious moment on the track. The brave Haas did not give up, although he had the flu and even had to vomit during the crucial set.
Federer’s last Grand Slam final turned out to be a drama for Switzerland in 2019. In his own serve he earned two match points against Djokovic at 40-15, but after a ball from Federer first, the Serbian eliminated the second with a fine pass.
Djokovic wins a big fight with Federer and gets his fifth Wimbledon title
Two years later, King Roger waved to the audience for the last time as an active tennis player, at all times at Wimbledon. For the first time in his career, he lost a set at Wimbledon in the quarter-finals against Hubert Hurkacz without winning a single match.
The ghost still wanted it, even though he was about forty years old. But the body could not stand it any longer. Not right.
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