By Lisa-Marie Burrows
Roger Federer is one of the most famous sportsmen on the planet. He is never seen in the papers due to scandal but only for his superb, outstanding achievements during his astonishing career. In fact, his career has been so prosperous that it is possible to run out of superlatives to describe his talent and the many records he has made and broken over the years.
This week, Roger Federer has added his mark on yet another piece of history having been world No.1 for 287 weeks, surpassing the previous record of his idol, Pete Sampras, who was on top for 286 weeks.
Not so long ago, many were writing off Roger Federer and his career and were echoing the word ‘retirement’ around him, which he refused to acknowledge or discuss, much to the relief of his legion of fans and loyal supporters. Federer clearly ignored the titter tatter of speculation and continued to carve his own path for his future and who would have thought that would include another victory at Wimbledon? (His seventh!) He has now lifted an astonishing 17 Grand Slam trophies on the four biggest stages across the world.
Having achieved so much personally and professionally, how do you narrow down ten top moments during such an illustrious career? Well here goes…
1) Wimbledon 2003:
Wimbledon is the place where it all started for the Swiss court magician. It was at the All England Club that Roger Federer lifted his first ever Grand Slam trophy and was the place where his story first began after defeating Australian Mark Phillippoussis in the final.
He bounced back from a poor performance at Roland Garros having exited the clay courts of Paris early with his high hopes dashed to bounce back and win the title on the green grass courts of Wimbledon.
Nine years later, Roger Federer has continued to keep his stranglehold on the throne and remained the king of the courts after winning a further record-breaking six trophies at Wimbledon.
2) 2004 – World No.1:
After collecting his first Grand Slam at Wimbledon the previous year, Roger Federer became world No. 1 in 2004 and remained in that position until 2008 and dominated tennis like never before seen in the open era. This week, having lost his top ranking position to Rafael Nadal after losing the final at Wimbledon in 2008, he has now regained the top slot and is currently back at No.1 in the world.
3) Roland Garros Champion:
During his career, Roger Federer was subject to constant scrutiny and speculation as to whether he would ever win the one Grand Slam title that eluded his collection – Roland Garros. Despite having reached the final on three occasions, each time he had become the runner up at the hands of the Clay Court King, Rafael Nadal, however 2009 was the year when it all changed. Federer had finally achieved the Career Slam and was rack with emotion after winning the trophy he had so desperately wanted for such a long time on the red dirt of Paris. To make his victory even sweeter, after lifting the title in Paris, Roger Federer had equaled the amount of Grand Slam titles won by Pete Sampras.
4) Winning Wimbledon for the 7th time and breaking history with 287 weeks at No.1:
In June 2012, Roger Federer won his 17th Grand Slam title at the place where it all started – at Wimbledon. He defeated the then current world No.1, Novak Djokovic, in the semi-finals before taking on home crowd favourite Andy Murray in the final. The Swiss maestro came back from a first set deficit to lift the title for the 7th time and in doing so, he knocked Novak Djokovic off the top spot in the rankings, whom he replaced – as the new Wimbledon champion.
5) Roger Federer, 6-time WTF Championships winner:
Despite having exhalted so much energy into all of the tournaments on Tour during the season, Roger Federer always seemed capable of leaving some fight and strength in reserve ready for what is often considered the fifth Grand Slam, The World Tour Finals. In each of the finals, the competition is fierce and the opponents are tough as he competed against eight of the best players in the world.
Federer has won the year end championship six times (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011) and has never hidden how important he feels the title is which has added to his title frequently associated with the player of GOAT (Greatest Of All Time).
6) Five-time US Open Champion:
Roger Federer has proven he is a master on all surfaces and on the hard courts of Flushing Meadows there is no exception. Federer’s dominance on the court transcended surfaces and continents, as his dominance was evident in New York, having won the Grand Slam title five times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008).
7) His role in one of the greatest matches of all time:
It may seem strange to list one of Federer’s defeats as one of the greatest moments in his career, but it was certainly one of the most memorable after he fought hook, line and sinker for the Wimbledon title in 2008 against his clay court nemesis, Rafael Nadal. Everyone who watched that match will never forget the moment he won the fourth set in the tie-breaker and the final went into an exciting, unforgettable, nail biting fifth set, which is a match many will be talking about for years.
8)Defeating his hero Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001:
In 2001, Roger Federer was young, 19 years old and pony-tail cladden as he stepped onto Centre Court at Wimbledon where he would participate in a match against his idol whilst growing up, Pete Sampras. This was the infamous day when it was a case of passing the torch in tennis. Sampras was undefeated in 31 straight matches at SW19 and had won 56 out of 57 matches in his career there. Sampras had never lost in a five set match at Wimbledon… until he met Roger Federer.
9) Winning the Olympic Gold Medal in the doubles in Beijing:
Representing your country in the Olympics is always an honour for any sports person, regardless of the sport they compete in. Roger Federer represented Switzerland in Beijing and although he was unsuccessful in the singles, he did win his first Olympic Gold in the doubles with friend and compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka.
10) Roger Federer: Tennis champion, husband and father:
Roger Federer has achieved so much in his professional life on the tennis courts around the world, but in his personal life, as a devoted husband and father to his two twin daughters, lifting the trophy in front of his beloved children will undoubtedly be a moment that Federer will cherish forever having witnessed his two children clap their hands and cheer for their daddy as he lifted the trophy at Wimbledon for the seventh time. Federer admitted shortly afterwards that the children understand the difference between a match and a practice and has high hopes that they will remember that special day in June 2012.