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10 Amazing highlights of Roger Federer's tennis career

BY Dominic Bliss

4th Oct 2022 Sport

10 Amazing highlights of Roger Federer's tennis career

After 24 years of playing tennis, Roger Federer is retiring. We look back at some of the best moments of his brilliant career

“It's been a perfect journey,” said Swiss tennis legend Roger Federer after completing the last ever professional tennis match of his career. “I would do it all over again.” 

The 41-year-old, who won an incredible 20 Grand Slam singles titles, and was ranked world number one for 310 weeks in all, retired from his sport in September, at the Laver Cup in London.  

"I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive"

“The last 24 years on tour have been an incredible adventure. While it sometimes feels like it went by in 24 hours, it has also been so deep and magical that it seems as if I’ve already lived a full lifetime,” he told his fans. “I have had the immense fortune to play in front of you in over 40 different countries. I have laughed and cried, felt joy and pain, and most of all I have felt incredibly alive.” 

Such a long and stellar career has inevitably seen many important moments. Here are ten of the most pivotal, all of which define him both as a sportsman and as a human being. 

1. Roger tames his temper

This Swiss player wasn’t always the cool, calm, collected character we love and know today. As a youngster he often had temper tantrums on court. 

“He was horrible sometimes,” his father once recalled. “Throwing rackets, swearing on the court. Sometimes we felt a bit ashamed.” 

Fortunately, the young player learned to curb his temper. As an adult player, he rarely raised his voice on court, let alone lost his cool.  

2. Federer meets his future wife 

There’s no doubt Roger’s wife Mirka has been one of the most influential people in his life. “She has lived through every minute with me,” he says in tribute to her. “She has warmed me up before finals, watched countless matches—even while over eight months pregnant—and has endured my goofy side on the road with my team for over 20 years.” 

Federer's wife and daughters

Federer's wife Mirka and daughters © Mike McCune via Wikimedia Commons

The couple first met at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, marrying nine years later. Mirka Vavrinec, as she was then, was an accomplished professional player herself, ranked in the world top 100 in the early 2000s. 

But it was as Roger’s right-hand woman that she really excelled, supporting him loyally at tournaments, and helping with the business and sponsorship side of his career.  

3. Roger becomes a father

For much of the last 13 years, Mirka has worked tirelessly behind the scenes as mother to the couple’s four children: two girl twins born in 2009 and two boy twins born five years later. 

"Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever"

“I want to thank my four wonderful children for supporting me, always eager to explore new places and creating wonderful memories along the way,” Roger said on his retirement. “Seeing my family cheering me on from the stands is a feeling I will cherish forever.” 

4. Coping with his coach’s death 

Roger was understandably devastated when his close friend and former coach Peter Carter died in a car accident in the summer of 2002.  

“Thanks to him I have my entire technique and coolness,” Roger once said of the man who guided him through the early years. “He always knew what was good for me.” 

The grief caused by Carter’s death hardened Roger’s spirit and attitude on the court. Some believe it matured him and drove him on to future success. 

5. Federer’s first Grand Slam title 

On arriving in London in 2003, to contest Wimbledon, Roger admitted he was feeling the pressure. In fact, he galloped through the tournament, dropping only one set along the way, and beating the Australian big server Mark Philippoussis in the final. 

Roger Federer

“There was pressure on all sides and it's a huge relief to win,” he said afterwards. “I just hope it won't be my last.” 

It wasn’t, by any means. Over the next 15 years he would clock up a further 19 Grand Slams, cementing his reputation as one of the greatest players of all time. 

6. Becoming World No 1 for first time 

In February 2004, just before winning the Australian Open, Roger acceded to the world number one ranking spot. “To finally be No 1—it does make me feel really strange,” he said. 

"During his career, Federer would spend a total of 310 weeks at the very summit of the world rankings"

During his career, he would spend a total of 310 weeks at the very summit of the world rankings. Only Novak Djokovic has clocked up longer.  

7. The 2008 Wimbledon final 

Many tennis experts consider it the greatest tennis match of all time. Although Roger was defeated by Rafa Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final—in a brutal five-set clash that endured for almost five hours—the Swiss player inevitably drew strength from his experience. 

2008 Wimbledon

Former US champion John McEnroe was particularly impressed: “It was the best match I ever witnessed in terms of overall quality, the excitement, the unpredictability and the way it ended,” he said in praise. 

8. Career Grand Slam 

In tennis, a career Grand Slam is when a player wins all four Grand Slam singles titles—Wimbledon, Roland Garros, the Australian Open and the US Open.  

Only eight men are in this club, including Roger who joined in 2009 after he won Roland Garros for the first time. 

9. A Davis Cup Triumph

The vast majority of tennis is played as an individual sport. In the Davis Cup competition, however, players join up with their national compatriots in the sport’s most high-profile team competition. 

In November 2014, Roger formed part of the Swiss team that won the Davis Cup, defeating France in the final in Lille. 

Federer Davis Cup 2014

“It's an amazing day for sports in our country,” he said afterwards. “We're a smaller country. We don't win bigger events every other week.” 

10. Going through knee surgery 

Was this the beginning of the end of Roger’s career? In 2016 he underwent the first of several knee surgeries after tearing the meniscus in his left knee. Ironically, it wasn’t a tennis match which did for him, but a freak accident as he twisted his knee while running a bath for his twin daughters. 

After the recovery, while he went on to win three more Grand Slams, knee injuries would continue to plague him until his eventual retirement

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