2016 marks a year plagued with injuries for Roger. Noticeably absent from the ATP was the Swiss Maestro. Playing in just 7 ATP events and 2 majors, Roger found himself against some tough opponents in the likes of Dominic Thiem, Milos Raonic, Novak Djokovic, Jo Wilfried Tsonga and young up-and-comer Alexander Zverev. Competing for just half the year and missing not just one, but two Grand Slams for the first time in his career, Roger calls it the end of the season after Wimbledon and ends up spending the rest of the year recovering and working on coming back stronger for 2017.
Finding himself at his lowest ranking since 2001, Roger began 2016 in Brisbane where he makes it to the finals and loses to Milos Raonic.
Off to Australia, Roger gets deep into the draw. He ends up losing in the semifinals to Novak Djokovic, but more damaging, he later admits to a mishap -- slipping during bath time with his twin daughters a day after the semifinals in Melbourne, which leads to his first career surgery on his left knee.
Federer undergos arthroscopic surgery to repair a torn meniscus, and clarified the cause of the problem, "It happened the day after the Djokovic match," said the 17-time grand slam champion.
Planning to return to the court in Miami, a stomach bug ends up keeping him out of tournament play for a while longer.
Roger rejoins the competition in Monte Carlo at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 where he makes it to the quarterfinals losing to the talented Frenchman, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Next up is Rome where Roger runs into the shot maker Dominic Thiem losing in the round of 16s.
Making a tough decision, Roger withdraws from the French Open, snapping a 65-tournament run in majors reaching back to his Grand Slam debut at Roland Garros 17 years prior. The back injury that plagued him during the clay-court season, combined with the lingering effects of surgery for the freakish knee injury injury in January, as well as a virus that struck him down in Miami, took their toll on him.
Roger makes an appearance in Stuttgart and loses to Dominic Thiem in a heartbreaking semifinal where he had match points. “It was a tough match for both of us,” Federer said. “I could have played better at some of the bigger moments. At the same time, Thiem came up with some really good shots when he needed them. It’s just unfortunate. It’s just a matter of working hard and maybe things will go my way next time.”
In Halle, Germany, Roger finds himself up against one of the talented youngsters on the ATP Tour, Alexander Zverev, a 19-year old German player. Still not up to 100%, Roger is positive about what might come at Wimbledon.
Roger has a great start at the All England Club. He works his way into the semifinals in a winnable match against Canadian, Milos Raonic. With a slip in the fifth set and missed opportunities, Roger was so close to the finals, but looses in 5 sets.
In late July, Roger announces to the world he would miss the rest of the season, including the Olympics. “Considering all options after consulting with my doctors and my team, I have made the very difficult decision to call an end to my 2016 season as I need more extensive rehabilitation following my knee surgery earlier this year,” wrote Federer. “The doctors advised that if I want to play on the ATP World Tour injury free for another few years, as I intend to do, I must give both my knee and body the proper time to fully recover.”
The Swiss star finishes 2016 with a 21-7 record, which includes finishing as runner-up in Brisbane and posting semi-final showings at the Australian Open and Wimbledon. This marks the first year since 2001 that Federer has not won an ATP World Tour title.
Despite the rough year, Roger ends 2016 on a positive note and comes away with awards including GQ's Most Stylish Man, Most Marketable Sports Person, Forbes Fab 40 Top Global Athlete Brand, was named ATP Fan Favorite yet again and receives the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award.
In 2015, Roger yet again enjoys a streak of successes. The year brings with it a series of serious career highlights. In Brisbane, he wins the 1000th ATP match of his career, and in Dubai, he serves his 9000th ace. In Istanbul, Roger wins the inaugural clay tournament and with Wimbledon and New York, he reaches the finals of two Grand Slam tournaments. It is also during this year that Roger deploys his new tactic ‘SABR’ (sneaky attack by Roger), a half-volley return, which allows him to attack the opponent’s second serve by sprinting close to the net. Yet, in spite of 6 title wins and 11 finals, Roger is unable to hold on to his position in the ATP ranking and finishes the year ranked no. 3 in the world.
As in the previous year, Roger opens the season in Brisbane – achieving the perfect start to the 2015 season, by celebrating his 1000th victory on the ATP World Tour, after a 6-4, 6-7(2), 6-4 win against Milos Raonic. “No doubt, this is a special moment”, says Roger, “I have played a lot over the years, but this victory before your eyes [Laver and Emerson] means so much to me. I will certainly never forget this match.” Seeded in the number 2 slot, Roger faces first Lu Yen-Hsun, and then Simone Bolelli in the first Grand Slam tournament of the season, the Australian Open. Roger can decide both matches confidently in his favour. Yet in the third round, he is defeated, for the first time, by Andreas Seppi. The 4-6, 6-7(5), 6-4, 6-7(5) defeat spells his early exit.
Things run much more smoothly for Roger at the Dubai Duty Free Tennis Championships. The defending champion reaches the final without great difficulty after defeating Mikhail Youzhny, Fernando Verdasco, Richard Gasquet and Borna Coric, in turn, without losing a single set. Not even Novak Djokovic can take his seventh title in Dubai away from him. Roger wins 6-3, 7-5. Scoring 12 aces during that match, he also breaks the 9000 mark and is now, along with Goran Ivanisevic, Ivo Karlovic and Andy Roddick only the fourth player since records began to be kept in 1991 to accomplish this feat.
A chance for a rematch against Andreas Seppi manifests in the third round of the Indian Wells Masters. Roger takes revenge for the defeat in the Australian Open and wins convincingly 6-3, 6-4. After further victories against Jack Sock, Tomas Berdych and Milos Raonic, the opponents facing each other in the final are, once again, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic. But this time it is the Serb who scores the title and delivers Roger’s second defeat of the season.
Roger’s start into the clay court season is not optimal. While he clearly wins his first match at the Monte Carlo Masters against Jérémy Chardy 6-2 and 6-1, it is as early as the second round that he is defeated by a strong Gaël Monfils 4-6, 6-7(5).
In Istanbul, during the inaugural ATP 250 tournament, Roger is back to his old form. Following a bye in the first round, Roger meets opponents Jarkko Nieminen and Daniel Gimeno-Traver in the quarterfinals. After victory against Diego Schwarzman, Roger can decide the final against Pablo Cuevas in his favour. It is the 85th tournament title of his career.
Following an early exit in the second round in Madrid, Roger starts at the Internazionali BLN d’Italia in Rome, where, after strong performances, he is eventually stopped in the final round by Novak Djokovic.
During the French Open in Paris, there is the chance for a match between Roger and Stan Wawrinka, in the event that both of them reach the quarterfinals. After a nerve-racking second round that is postponed to the next day after darkness sets in, and which ends in Roger defeating Gaël Monfils in four sets, the all-Swiss match actually comes to pass. But Roger does not have his best day and loses to his strong-playing fellow countryman 4-6, 3-6, 6-7(4). Roger, after the match: “I tried a lot of things to get into this match. Perhaps, today, it just was not possible against him. It does not often happen to me that I cannot get a single break in a match.” Stan Wawrinka goes on to win the second Grand Slam tournament of the year.
As the titleholder, Roger starts into the grass season in Halle, seeking his 15th title on grass. In addition, he can also use the ATP 500 tournament as perfect preparation for Wimbledon. Following a 7-6(1), 6-4 - victory in the final over Andreas Seppi, Roger can hold up the Gerry Weber trophy for the 8th time – yet another record!
In Wimbledon, Roger is seeded no. 2. After victories over Damir Dzumhur, Sam Querrey and Sam Groth, who only force him to concede a single set, he enters the second week. In the fourth round he defeats Roberto Bautista-Agut without any trouble and reaches, after victories over Gilles Simon (quarterfinal) and Andy Murray (semi-final), the Wimbledon final for the 10th time. Unfortunately, Roger cannot keep up his convincing form against Novak Djokovic and has to concede defeat after almost three hours; the match ends 6-7(1), 7-6(10), 4-6, 3-6.
Roger meets the Serb again during the Western & Southern Open in Cincinnati. He plays extremely well on the hard court and does not give his opponents any chances. Even during the final against the world seed no. 1, Roger continues to play extremely aggressively. During this week he dashes up to the net more than 100 times, putting pressure on his opponents. “Too good”, is even Djokovic’s verdict during the congratulatory handshake. With his 7-6(1), 6-3 victory against the Serb, Roger wins his 7th title in Ohio.
The final Grand Slam tournament of the season in New York continues in the same vein. Roger plays his way through the US Open without much trouble and without dropping a set until the final, where he – hardly surprising – meets again with Novak Djokovic. Yet, during their 42nd encounter, the World No 1 keeps the upper hand, and – after a hard-fought match, during which Roger misses too many break points – brings the rivalry between the two stars to an equal 21 – 21 wins.
During the Davis Cup Playoffs Roger wins, following Stan Wawrinka, both of his singles’ matches against Jesse Huta Galung and Thiemo de Bakker, thus ensuring Switzerland’s keeps its place among the 16 best tennis nations in the world.
After that it’s off to the Shanghai Masters for Roger where he is the current champion and the no. 2 seed. Surprisingly, however, the Asian adventure comes to an early end during the second round, as Roger loses to the qualifier from Spain, Albert Ramos-Vinolas, in three sets.
Back in Switzerland, Roger wins his home tournament, the Swiss Indoors in Basel, and with it his 6th title of the season. His final opponent this time is Rafael Nadal, whom Roger can defeat again for the first time since the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells in 2012.
After a, sadly, very short appearance at the Paris Masters where Roger fails to get passed John Isner in the third round, it is the ATP World Tour finals in London. It is Roger’s 14th season playing on this tournament’s court and the 10th time that he makes it to the final after defeating Stan Wawrinka during the semi-final in two sets. And once again, his opponent’s name is Novak Djokovic. While our champion managed to defeat him just a few days earlier during the round robin stage, this time, Roger fails to put him under enough pressure and looses 3-6, 4-6.
With his participation in the second International Premier Tennis League (ITPL) tournament, where Roger competes for the royal team of the United Arab Emirates, the 2015 tennis season comes to an end.
Roger deserves the greatest respect not just for his achievements on court, which earned him the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award as well as the ATP World Tour Fan’s Favourite Award this year, but also for his charitable commitment. During the summer of 2015, Roger travels to Malawi to see first-hand the impact of a local initiative for early infancy education put into action by the Roger Federer Foundation. “I have always held the opinion that children are the future and am glad to be supporting them and to give them the chance to attend school,” says Roger. So far, the programme in Malawi sponsors 50 model - and 160 smaller satellite centres in six regions across the country and reaches a total of 34,000 children.
After a tough previous season, Roger regains his consistent good form in 2014 and fights his way up the ATP rankings from the sixth to the second spot. Roger is the player with the most victories of this season. The successful year is marked by five titles, the Davis Cup triumph as well as the spectacular Wimbledon final against Djokovic. At the beginning of the season, Roger announces that his youth idol, Stefan Edberg, will be joining Severin Lüthi on his team. For the first time in his career, Roger plays with a somewhat larger racket which should benefit his serve and create more pressure during long rallies.
In Brisbane, Roger makes a strong start into the new season. After two easy victories over Jarkko Nieminen and Marinko Matosevic and a solid performance in the semi-final against Jérémy Chardy, he nevertheless misses out on his first title of this year. In the final of just over two hours he has to concede victory to local hero, Lleyton Hewitt, 1-6, 6-4, 3-6.
Roger enters his 57th consecutive Grand Slam tournament at the Australian Open in Melbourne – a new record. In the quarter-finals, he faces Andy Murray, whom walked off as the winner after the semi-final against our champion in the Australian Open of the previous year. In a brilliant performance, Roger wins in four sets. He succumbs to the top seed of the World Rankings, Rafael Nadal, 6-7(4), 3-6, 3-6 in the semi-finals.
Prior to the Dubai Tennis Championships, Roger plays for Switzerland in the Davis Cup rubber against Serbia and with his victory over Ilija Bozoljac, a 1-0 lead is secured. Switzerland thereupon qualifies for the quarter-final against Kazakhstan thanks to a 3-2 victory.
In Dubai – after clear victories in the preceding matches – Roger meets defending champion, Novak Djokovic, in the semi-finals. Despite losing the first set, Roger reaches the final in less than two hours after a vastly improved performance. It is his first victory in 18 months over the Serb. Indeed, the first set against Tomas Berdych is also lost; however, by means of a brilliant catch-up race, Roger manages to win the match 3-6, 6-4, 6-3. The victory in Dubai signifies the end of a dry spell and the first title in eight months.
Roger also demonstrates his regained confidence in the tournaments in Indian Wells and Miami. Although narrowly losing the final in Indian Wells against Djokovic and being eliminated in Miami in the quarter-final against Kei Nishikori, these defeats are far from compelling.
In the Davis Cup quarter-finals, our hero wins his two singles matches and Switzerland makes it into the semis.
The clay season has a promising start. In Monte Carlo, Roger really pumps up the volume and, once again defeating Novak Djokovic in the semi-finals, Roger faces his fellow countryman and Davis Cup partner, Stan Wawrinka, in the final. The first two sets are played out evenly with one set each, however, our champ falls behind in the third set 0-4 and is unable catch up. The match ends 6-4, 6-7(5), 2-6.
A happy event causes Roger to cancel his participation in Madrid – Mirka, his wife, gives birth to the twins, Leo and Lenny. "I cried before Mirka went to the hospital, during and after she was giving birth. I was exhausted, but I let all that pressure go. I was happy I managed to let my emotions run free in such a big moment in my life," said the happy father.
Unfortunately, Lady Luck does not smile upon Roger during the next two tournaments. His 6-1, 3-6, 6-7(6) defeat by Jérémy Chardy in the second round in Rome means a premature elimination. At the French Open he is defeated in the round of sixteen after a fiercely fought match against Ernests Gulbis, lasting almost four hours.
However, Roger remains unbeatable on grass in Halle. He defeats Columbia’s Alejandro Falla in the final 7-6(2), 7-6(3). His seventh triumph in Halle also proves he is in excellent shape for Wimbledon.
Without losing a set, Roger proceeds to the quarter-finals on the sacred grass of Wimbledon, where he defeats Stan Wawrinka followed by Milos Raonic before facing his last hurdle to Wimbledon victory, namely Novak Djokovic. In an epic final filled with nail-biting suspense and lasting almost four hours, our hero is defeated 7-6(7), 4-6, 6-7(4), 7-5, 4-6.
The next stop is North America, where the hard court season opens. Roger sails through to the final in the Rogers Cup in Toronto but is only narrowly defeated by France’s Jo-Wilfried Tsonga 5-7, 6-7(3). Shortly thereafter, Roger bags his 300th victory on ATP 1000 level against Canada’s Vasek Pospisil in the second round of the Cincinnati Masters. By defeating Spain’s David Ferrer in the final, our champion sets a further record – it is his 22nd ATP Masters 1000 title as well as his 6th in Cincinnati, which means he is qualified for the World Tour Finals for a 13th consecutive time.
At the US Open, Roger’s game is constantly on a high level, but he must surprisingly bow out to Marin Cilic with 3-6, 4-6, 4-6 in the semi-finals. Cilic goes on to win the tournament and it is the first time since the Australian Open in 2005 that neither Roger nor Novak Djokovic or Rafael Nadal make it into the final.
By beating Italy in the Davis Cup, Switzerland reaches the final for the first time since 1992. This is also due to both Roger’s singles victories over Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini. France is the opponent in the final to be held in Lille, France.
Roger wins his next title at the Shanghai Masters in China. Following his excellent semi-final victory over Novak Djokovic, he wins the final against Gilles Simon with 7-6(6), 7-6(2), replacing Rafael Nadal as World Number 2.
Roger is also unstoppable at the Swiss indoors in his hometown, Basel. He collects further records with his victory over David Goffin: his 6th win in Basel as well as playing in the most singles finals.
Following a detour to the Paris Masters, which ends for Roger with a quarter-final defeat by Milos Raonic, he bags three clear victories at the ATP World Tour Finals in London over Raonic, Nishikori and Murray. However, during the semi-final against Stan Wawrinka, our hero injures his back and has to forfeit the final against Novak Djokovic.
The Davis Cup finals against France are next. Will the Swiss team with Roger und Stan Wawrinka manage a first Davis Cup victory? Despite our champ losing his first singles match to an unleashed Gael Monfils, it ends 3-1 for Switzerland. A historic triumph!
Following the exhibition matches at the IPTL India, Roger wraps up his successful 2014 season shortly before Christmas with a charity match against Stan Wawrinka in the sold-out Zurich Hallenstadion. As was the case four years ago, the entire proceeds of the “MATCH FOR AFRICA 2” go to the Roger Federer Foundation. Roger says, “I was certain from the outset that only Stan Wawrinka came into consideration as guest and opponent and therefore I was very pleased when he accepted the invitation. But above all, I am grateful to him for sharing my passion for Africa and that he is helping to grant children in poverty a better future.”
Seen in the light of Roger's exceptional tennis career, this year is marked by many disappointments for him as well as his fans. Due to back problems and some unusually early defeats draining his confidence, he is able to achieve only a few highlights at the big tournaments. For the first time in eleven years, he drops to seventh on the World Rankings. Despite winning only one title – at the Gerry Weber Open – his playing skills keep shining through, especially towards the end of the season at the tournaments in Basel, Paris and London, where his performance rapidly improves.
As World Number Two, Roger starts the season at the Australian Open. The outlook is very promising: he beats his opponents, Benoît Paire, Nikolai Davydenko, Milos Raonic and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, on his way to the semi-finals, where he faces Andy Murray. After a fiercely contested fourth set, which Roger wins, he nevertheless has no chance in the deciding set and loses the match to the Scot in nearly four hours.
A first surprise follows in Rotterdam at the ABN AMRO Tournament, where he loses in the quarter-finals against Julien Benneteau, thus being defeated by a player whom is not in the Top Ten. This is the start of a roller coaster ride – caused by a single mishap – which soon gives rise to increasing insecurity. He narrowly loses his semi-final in Dubai against Tomas Berdych. However, in the Indian Wells quarter-finals, he is well defeated by Rafael Nadal and in Madrid, he even suffers an unexpected third-round defeat on clay against Kei Nishikori, the 16th-seeded Japanese.
Roger does not allow himself to be distracted: he is top notch in Rome at the Internazionali BNL d’Italia and qualifies for the final, after eliminating – amongst others – Gilles Simon, Jerzy Janowicz and Benoît Paire. However, once again, he has to leave the tournament victory to his rival, Rafael Nadal, in two sets.
Winning his first match with ease, Roger manages the start of the French Open back in good form. Only in the fourth round against Gilles Simon, Roger lags behind after a fall and has to catch up from being down 1 set to 2. He wins the fifth set and thus achieves his 900th tour victory. He is up against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga in the quarterfinals. However, he does not really find his game and finally loses the match against the tenacious Frenchman in three sets.
Roger competes in his first grass tournament of the season at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle. He defeats his first two opponents in two sets, but gets more opposition from the German, Tommy Haas, to whom he loses the first set, but – due to his good serves – scores a safe victory. The final against Mikhail Youzhny follows a similar course: once again Rogers loses the first set, but then turns it around and clinches this tournament for the sixth time and can hereby celebrate his 77th tournament title.
Alas, this joy does not last very long. Ironically, in Wimbledon, in a very hard match, he loses his second-round game to 116-seed, Sergiy Stakhovsky. By this defeat, Roger – for the first time in 36 major tournaments – fails to reach at least the quarter-finals and drops down to 5th on the World Rankings.
Unfortunately, the subsequent tournaments take no turn for the better and, even worse: a new obstacle comes into play, namely his back problems. Roger cannot reach his hoped-for top form and is often eliminated unexpectedly early or by supposedly "easy" opponents. Only in Cincinnati is he able to challenge a top player, but nevertheless loses this quarterfinal against Rafael Nadal, thereby dropping down to 7th on the World Rankings. The next damper follows already at the US Open, where he loses to 22-seed Spaniard, Tommy Robredo, in the fourth round.
It is only at his home tournament in Basel that Roger finds his rhythm again and delights his fans with his fighting spirit. Although he loses the final against Juan Martin del Potro, he regains much of his confidence by playing tennis of the highest of levels in all his matches.
The fact that Roger's performance is improving, is manifested in both of his last tournaments, namely the BNP Paribas Masters in Paris and the ATP Finals in London. Although not quite achieving a coup de liberation, his dauntless matches against the Top Ten players demonstrate that the distance to the top is decreasing and that Roger is taking important steps in the right direction.
Despite a turbulent year, Roger does not neglect his social responsibility. Within the scope of the Roger Federer Foundation, he is personally involved in various projects. He participates in Pratteln in a group meeting of a:primo, which supports children from educationally disadvantaged families. He collects donations with children for Winterhilfe Schweiz [winter relief, Switzerland] at the LINDT Chocolateria, again with the objective to help disadvantaged children in Switzerland.
He is named the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian of the Year for the second time in 2013 for his involvement as a credible ambassador for children in difficult circumstances. Roger's Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award for the ninth time and the ATP Fans’ Favourite Award for the eleventh straight year, demonstrate the particular accolade bestowed upon him off-court.
On-court, Roger has not yet achieved the sporting success implied by the changes he undertook in his environment, namely the new collaboration with Stefan Edberg, switching to a bigger racket and focused season preparation without exhibitions – the many separate pieces of the puzzle which Roger wants to combine for a successful tennis year. Perhaps the happy event, expected in 2014, is one of them…
Yet another record year ends for Roger and his fans. He wins his 17th Grand Slam title in Wimbledon, returns to the top of the World Rankings and improves on Pete Sampras' record as world number 1 for a total of 302 weeks. Winning Olympic silver ticks another box in his career. He achieves four further titles and thanks to an unbelievable result of 71 match wins (86%), he can look back at one of his most successful tennis years since 2006.
As in the previous year, the season starts for Roger at the Qatar Open in Doha. Along with Rafael Nadal, he opens the 2012 ATP World Tour in a magical ceremony surrounded by 4000 candles. After making it to the semi-finals, back problems force him to withdraw from his match against Jo-Wilfried Tsonga.
At the Australian Open, Roger draws the same group as Rafael Nadal for the first time in a Grand Slam since 2005. He advances to the quarter-finals easily where his match against Juan Martin del Potro is even more significant. It marks the 1000th ATP match of his career and he pulls out all the stops. He eliminates his opponent in three sets and reaches the Australian Open semi-finals for the ninth time in a row since 2004. His opponent: Rafael Nadal. Roger's made-to-measure start results in a 3-0 lead and he wins the tiebreak. However, Nadal stages an impressive comeback in the second set as he breaks Roger's serve three times. The spectators are then treated to spectacular rallies of which Roger takes charge at first. Nadal then asserts himself in the tiebreak of the third set and carries this drive through to the fourth set. Even though Roger manages to put his opponent under pressure a few times, Nadal ultimately maintains the upper hand and wins the match after 3 hours and 42 minutes.
Less than two weeks later, Roger joins his countrymen for the Davis Cup rubber in Fribourg (Switzerland), where the Swiss team takes on the USA in the first round. His teammate, Stanislas Wawrinka, unsuccessfully opens this clay event against Mardy Fish. Unfortunately it also goes the same way for Roger, who is caught on the wrong foot by big John Isner, who shows excellent form. After Roger takes the first set, the American gives his all and wins the next three sets of the match.
The doubles match against Mike Bryan and Mardy Fish goes the same way: Roger and Stan win the first set, whereupon their opponents increase the pressure, expertly control the game and do not let up. As a result Switzerland loses 0-3 and must face Holland in the play-offs in the Autumn.
Despite this defeat, Roger steps up to the indoors ABN AMRO World Tennis Tournament in Rotterdam with new verve. He only drops his first set in the semis against Nikolay Davydenko; he even has to fight back from falling behind in the deciding set in order to qualify for the final. Roger meets Juan Martin del Potro in the final and plays brilliantly. By playing agressively he is soon leading 6-1, confidently dominates the second set by 6-4 and as a result can celebrate his 71st ATP tournament victory.
Roger plays his next ATP 500 Tournament in Dubai and needs only 67 minutes to get rid of his first opponent, Michael Llodra. He receives notably more resistance from his next opponents, Feliciano Lopez, Mikhail Youzhny and Juan Martin del Porto, but nevertheless allows no break points and wins each match in two sets. In the final he faces Andy Murray, who has just beaten the world number one, Novak Djokovic. The match is balanced in the beginning and only with a late break point at 5-5, does Roger manage to take the set. Although Roger wins a break point in the second set, the Scot soon levels the match. A further break point and two match points later, the deserved winner, for the fifth time in Dubai, is Roger Federer, who - on the way to his 72nd tournament win - does not drop a single set.
Following a short stop-over in New York where he faces Andy Roddick in Madison Square Garden for an exhibition match, Roger travels to Indian Wells. Despite a mild bout of influenza, he survives the first round against Denis Kuala and Milos Raonic without a problem. It takes Thomas Bellucci to push him over three sets, during which Roger unnecessarily makes life hard for himself at the onset by making unforced errors. After a clear victory in the quarterfinals against Juan Martin del Potro, Roger has to face an old foe in the semifinals, namely Rafael Nadal. After heavy rainfall delays the match for 3 hours, tough conditions still prevail. Roger's game is nevertheless very effective and he makes good use of all three break points on offer. Although Nadal levels the match in the second set, Roger keeps his cool and serves himself into the finals with ease, where he meets with John Isner.
After being taken by surprise by Isner at the Davis Cup, Roger is extremely focused this time. During the first intense set, Roger – for the first time ever – wins a tiebreak against the American, mostly due to his superb first serves. With two break points, he takes the second set, winning his 73rd tournament. His fourth win at Indian Wells sets a new record and, furthermore, equals Rafael Nadal's best achievement of 19 Masters ATP 1000 titles.
In the third round of the next ATP 1000 at the Ericsson Open in Miami, Roger has to face Andy Roddick, to whom he recently lost an exhibition match. This match is well-balanced until Roger fails to make good use of a break point in the third set and is eliminated from the tournament.
After winning a tough first match against Milos Raonic at the Mutua Madrid Open, Roger really gets into gear again. On the much-criticised blue clay, Roger beats Richard Gasquet, David Ferrer and Janko Tipsarevic in succession without sacrificing a single set. He goes on to face Tomas Berdych in the finals. Roger's fourth tournament victory of the season does not come without a fight; under windy conditions, he loses the first set against the Czech, barely manages to win the next two sets, and in the end his 103 points amount to only 2 more than that of his opponent. With this victory, he not only earns the 74th tournament title in his career, but he also overtakes Rafael Nadal on the ATP rankings once again, becoming the world number two.
The ATP World Tour continues for Roger in Rome at the Internazionali BNL d'Italia. He beats Carlos Berlocq, Juan Carlos Ferrero and Andreas Seppi and is only stopped in the semi-finals by Novak Djokovic: after losing the first set with two tie breaks, Roger pulls himself together in the second set and strongly tries to avoid the defeat he ultimately has to accept after a gripping tie-break.
Next up is the French Open in Paris, the second Grand Slam of the season. With his second-round victory over the Romanian, Adrian Ungur, Roger breaks a further record. He wins his 234th singles match at a Grand Slam tournament and overtakes Jimmy Connors record for the most career wins – proof of the consistently high standard of Roger's game. This is not always so simple and is demonstrated by the matches to follow, mostly by a tough quarterfinal against Juan Martin del Potro. After a 2-set deficit, Roger bounces back and in the end wears down his opponent in 3 hours and 14 minutes to finish with two match balls. The next challenge is already waiting, since – yet again – he has to face the world number one, Novak Djokovic, in the semis. However, an early break point in the first set, followed by a promising double break point in the second set, cannot stop the Serb. Djokovic wins both sets and keeps Roger in check in the third set, so much so that the match point shortly thereafter gives him his ticket into the finals. His loss against Novak Djokovic causes Roger to drop down on the world ranking list to third place – behind Nadal – for a short time.
The start of the season on grass at the Gerry Weber Open in Halle precedes two upcoming season’s highlights: Wimbledon and the 2012 Olympic Summer Games in London. This "dress rehearsal" is not really successful in that Roger gets beaten in the final against Tommy Haas in two sets, mostly because he frustratingly throws away a good start in the first set. Nevertheless, his starting position for the upcoming tournaments is probably not the worst, since his opponents and the media do not portray him as a favourite.
Only a few days later, Roger is at Wimbledon and makes his mark in the first match against Albert Ramos. The Spaniard can only win a total of three service games and the match is over in just 79 minutes. Although it goes the same way against Fabio Fognini, whom he beats effortlessly, he comes close to defeat against Julien Benneteau, since the latter is only two points away from victory a number of times. When Roger takes the fiercely contested fourth set in a tie-break, the Frenchman's spirit is broken and in a superb final spurt, Roger wins the last set 6-1. Roger is suffering from back problems during the next round against the Belgian, Xavier Malisse. After having to survive three break points and calling for a medical timeout, play is fortunately stopped by rainfall allowing Roger the opportunity for more intensive medical treatment. The therapy seems to work wonders, since he wins the second set 6-1. Although he slows down slightly and loses the third set, he does not give up and qualifies for the quarterfinals, where he beats Mikhail Youzhny in three sets. The tournament favourite, Novak Djokovic, once again lays in wait in the semi-finals. At the same time it is a contest for the world rankings because a victory by Djokovic will improve his narrow lead, whereas a tournament victory by Roger will dethrone the Serb. Roger has a better start and takes the first set. Djokovic then manages to even out the match, but thereafter has to watch Roger calling the shots in the third and fourth sets and winning his first match point after two hours play.
It comes to the final everyone dreamed of, namely against Andy Murray; a match in which both opponents enjoy some form of home advantage. Roger is clearly nervous: he allows a break point at the start and makes an unusual amount of errors. However, after taking the second set and an interruption due to rainfall, he is in top form again. He keeps the Scot at bay during the third and fourth sets and in 3 hours and 26 minutes, he wins the second match point and also his 17th Grand Slam title.
It is a historic victory: Roger wins his 7th title on the "holy lawn"; thereby equalling Pete Sampras' record. Furthermore, the latter's record of 286 weeks on top of the world rankings does not last very much longer: after his spectacular victory over Andy Murray, Roger leads the rankings again and will go on to break even this unbelievable record.
Despite all of Roger's many victories to date, there is still something missing in his list of achievements: a singles medal at the Olympic Games. His chances cannot be better, since the 2012 Games are hosted in Wimbledon on grass: his favourite surface. He makes it to the semi-finals without dropping a set. However, Juan Martin del Potro challenges him to the limit. The Argentine dominates the match from the start and takes the first set. Roger is only able to turn it around during the second set and evens things out.
Both deliver a gripping duel in the deciding set, during which the chances of victory keep tipping back and forth between the opponents. After strenuous play of 2 hours and 43 minutes in the third set, Roger finally wins the second match point by the amazing score of 19-17. This match, total playing time 4 hours and 26 minutes, goes down in history as the longest ever Olympic tennis match.
At this point one can easily forget that the final is actually still to come - once again Roger's opponent is Andy Murray. After a good start and one failed break point chance, the match slips away for him completely at 2-2: he unfortunately loses all the subsequent games up to 0-5 in the second set. He gets a few chances again during the third set, but the Scot wants his revenge and secures the gold medal with his third consecutive ace. After the initial understandable disappointment, Roger is quick to point out that, considering his tournament progress, he did not lose gold, but in fact won silver and so has his Olympic medal.
The stress of the tight tournament schedule forces him to cancel his participation in Toronto, making the Masters ATP 1000 tournament in Cincinnati his next destination.
Refreshed and rested, he outshines Alex Bogomolov, Bernard Tomic and Mardy Fish, reaching each round without losing a set. Not even his friend, Stanislas Wawrinka, can stop him in the semis and he goes on to play Novak Djokovic in the finals - for the first time again as the world number one. In an unparalleled fast start, Roger manages to end the first set 6-0 in only 20 minutes, with the Serb merely winning only 10 points. The second set is somewhat more even, but here too Roger has the upper hand. He beats Djokovic in a tie-break and becomes the only tennis player ever to win the Cincinnati title five times. He also rakes in his 76th tournament without losing a set. With a tally of 21 Masters 1000 ATP tournament victories, he equals Rafael Nadal's record.
All of this means Roger starts as the top favourite in the US Open and he justifies this position in the first rounds: Donald Young and Björn Phau, and likewise, Fernando Verdasco, have no chance of stopping him. With Mardy Fish's withdrawal due to heart problems, Roger qualifies for the quarterfinals against Tomas Berdych. However, the Czech beats him in 4 sets, mainly because he makes an unusual number of unforced errors and fails to keep up his performance of the previous matches.
Due to his premature elimination, Roger decides to support Switzerland in the Davis Cup play-offs. Their position is successfully defended: the Swiss team beats Holland 3-1 on clay and remains in the World Group.
Not long after Roger once again meets his friend, Stanislas Wawrinka, on court, this time not as a doubles partner, but as opponent in the second match of the Shanghai Rolex Masters. Despite losing the first set, Roger is able to assert himself effortlessly in the deciding set. Following his 2-set victory in the quarterfinals against Marin Cilic, Roger faces Andy Murray in the semifinals, but fails to find his rhythm and in the end has to accept defeat in two sets.
At his home town tournament in Basel, Roger plays himself rapidly into the finals, beating Benjamin Becker, Benoît Paire and Paul-Henri Mathieu on the way, with Thomaz Bellucci being the only one to put up a challenge and take a set from him. Roger starts the final against Juan Martin del Potro by losing the 1st. set. The second set, too, is fiercely contested and Roger just manages to escape an early defeat. In the third set Roger comes very close to the decisive break point, but the Argentine shows no sign of nerves and in the end deservedly wins the match.
Minor injuries force Roger to withdraw with a heavy heart from defending his title in Paris-Bercy. Because he cannot defend his ATP points total, his position at the top of the world rankings - for a record of 302 weeks - is taken back by Djokovic.
Ending the season, he faces the ATP World Tour Finals as title defender. Because he previously qualified for the semifinals, his loss against Juan Martin del Potro in the third group match is of no consequence. He delivers a fascinating performance against Andy Murray in the semi-finals. Although the Scot enjoys an advantage at the start, Roger finds his rhythm just in time and takes the first set in a tie-break. Roger dominates his opponent in the second set and finally wins the match after 1 hour and 33 minutes.
In the final against Novak Djokovic, Roger, who already won this tournament six times, takes the lead in the first two sets. However, the Serb remains persistent, keeps fighting his way back and converts his first match point after more than two hours. Nevertheless, Roger's record of six Masters titles remains unchallenged and ahead of Ivan Lendl and Pete Sampras with five each.
Roger enters new territory at the end of the year, when, for the twelve-day Gillette Federer Tour, Roger travels to South America for the first time. He participates in some entertaining exhibition matches in Brazil, Argentina und Colombia. The opponents in his show matches are Thomaz Bellucci, Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Tommy Haas and Juan Martin del Potro.
During his travels, he meets personalities such as the Brazilian football legend, Pelé, visits the impressive Iguazú Falls, puts his talents as football player to the test and enjoys himself on and off the tennis court after a challenging season. He is enthusiastically cheered on by thousands of fans wherever he shows up.
At the end of the year, Roger is voted the Fans' Favourite in a poll by the ATP World Tour Awards – for the 10th time in a row! Roger is also voted the greatest player of all times at the Australian Open by a resounding majority, even before his success at Wimbledon. After having received the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award seven times, he receives it once more in 2012.
Roger is also voted the Swiss Sports Personality of the Year. In front of his home crowd he is celebrated by a standing ovation at the end of 2012 for his magic tennis year, when – to everyone's surprise – he makes an appearance at the ceremony straight after his return from South America so as to accept the award personally.
The season starts according to plan: Roger wins the Qatar Open and seems to carry the momentum of the last tournaments over into the new year. However, this is followed by the unsuccessful title defense of the Australian Open and so a lengthy dry spell ensues. Although Roger drops down in the ATP world rankings and remains without a Grand Slam title in 2011, he achieves an impressive comeback towards the end of the season. As in the year before, his play reflects a golden autumn and culminates in the victory at the ATP World Championships in London.
Roger commences the tennis year 2011 as the world number two and immediately gets off to a good start: At the final of the Qatar Open in Doha he defeats Nikolay Davydenko in two sets and wins the 67th tournament of his career. It’s a warning to his rivals, especially since Roger enters the Australian Open as the current title holder. Is he able to live up to his role as favourite at the first Grand Slam tournament of the year? The first matches are promising, and indeed he reaches the semi-final with relative ease, after facing only one challenging encounter against Gilles Simon. Shortly afterwards, the world’s number three, Novak Djokovic, also qualifies for the semi-final. Right at the beginning of their encounter Roger is presented with an early break chance which he unfortunately is not able to convert. The first set goes to a tie-break which the Serb wins with his strong game. Two sets later the match is lost: closer than the result would suggest as Roger managed to level with Djokovic time and again, keeping the match an open one. With the defeat Roger no longer holds a Grand Slam trophy.
At the tournament in Dubai, Roger quickly gains ground again and match by match he fights to reach the final. The first chance of a rematch against Djokovic presents itself. However, unlike in Melbourne, the Serb who is bursting with self-confidence grants Roger few opportunities to find his way into the game. In the end, Djokovic deservedly wins the match in two sets.
Indian Wells is the next stop on the tournament calendar, and here again Roger’s play goes according to plan. On his way to the semi-final he must eliminate his doubles partner and fellow compatriot Stanislas Wawrinka. The latter can at least console himself with the fact that he is to play the final of the men’s doubles with Roger. Roger’s next opponent in the singles is Novak Djokovic.
Not having lost a match in a long time, Djokovic achieves a flawless performance against Roger in the first set. In return, Roger dominates his opponent in the second set, thereby levelling the game up. An incredible rally ensues in the deciding set in which the Serb has the upper hand: He qualifies for the final and overtakes Roger in the ATP rankings. Unfortunately Roger and Stan are not victorious in the doubles final either and are defeated by Alexandr Dolgopolov and Xavier Malisse in three sets.
After two semi-final setbacks in Key Biscane and Madrid against Nadal Roger also drops out in the early rounds at Monte Carlo and Rome. At the beginning of Roland Garros the media’s attention is therefore focused on Djokovic and Nadal. But of all places, this is where Roger takes revenge in an enthralling semi-final and is thereby able to end the Serb’s long series of 41 consecutive wins since 2011. However, the path to victory is anything but a stroll, rather a 3h39 long thriller. Roger eventually converts the third match point in the fourth set, resulting in a face-off between Roger and Nadal in the final – the classic match par excellence.
They make it a thrilling final. Roger gets off to a commanding, aggressive start, resulting in a 3-0 lead at the beginning of the set. At 5-2 the Spaniard suddenly finds his way back into the game and in the end even wins the first set. Roger continues to fight but must also relinquish the second set to his opponent. He manages to narrow the score to 2-1 in the third. The fourth set suddenly develops quickly and Nadal, despite Roger’s good play, is able to win the all-important points and subsequently celebrates his sixth victory at Roland Garros.
Roger starts with fresh vigour at Wimbledon. He concedes only one set on his way to the quarterfinal where he faces Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. The game seems under control with Roger leading by two sets – a head start that he never before relinquished at a Grand Slam tournament. However, the Frenchman achieves the to-date impossible: he courageously wins the following two sets and maintains the upper hand in the final set, leaving Roger to postpone his ambitions of a 7th Wimbledon title. At the Davis Cup in Berne Roger contributes significantly to eliminating Portugal 5-0 both in the singles and in the doubles with Stan. The Swiss team thus has the opportunity to advance in the World Group against Australia. This they will achieve in autumn owing to a convincing team effort.
Roger is yet to play the tournaments in Cincinnati and the last Grand Slam tournament of the year, the US Open. In Cincinnati Roger’s game is without luck and he is defeated in the quarterfinal by Tomas Berdych. At the US Open however, he qualifies for the semi-final where he once again faces Novak Djokovic. The game is a hotly contested one in which Roger is able to take a convincing two set lead. When Roger fades somewhat in the third set, Djokovic is able to up the tempo on his part. Subsequently Roger loses the next two sets relatively clearly, resulting in a fifth set decider. Both opponents push their limits one more time and the spectacular and intense game remains thrilling to the very end. Roger earns two match points which he unfortunately does not convert. On the contrary, Djokovic’s powerful forehand and an error on Roger’s part result in the Serb reaching the final.
With his advancement to the semi-final Roger at least qualifies for the ATP World Tour Finals in London for the tenth time in a row where he will also be the defending champion. Only Pete Sampras and Ivan Lendl have participated more often at the annual finale and can boast, as Roger at that stage, five tournament victories.
While other players complain about the long and intense tennis season Roger is economical with his energy. With a heavy heart, he cancels the Shanghai Rolex Masters after his success with the Davis Cup team against Australia. By doing so he is momentarily overtaken by Andy Murray in the ATP rankings and falls back to number four. The long recovery break more than pays off as Roger rises to top form in the remaining tournaments. The tennis star, whom the media wrote off several times, begins his impressive push toward the end of the season with victory at the Swiss Indoors, winning it for the fifth time.
It’s not long before Roger wins his next title, the 69th of his career. In Paris-Bercy we see Roger playing with inspiration, dominating his opponents at will. In his 99th career final Roger faces the Frenchman Jo-Wilfried Tsonga whom he literally steamrolls in the first set. In the second set he is able to control his opponent to a degree where his first victory at the BNP Parisbas Masters is never really in danger. All of a sudden Roger reappears on his competitors’ radar for the annual finale in London, deservedly so.
In the group stage he defeats Jo-Wilfried Tsonga and Rafael Nadal, qualifying for the semi-final early and also wins the third group match against Mardy Fish without any problems. He eliminates David Ferrer in the semi-final and again faces Tsonga in the 100th final of his career. The Frenchman manages to recover after being down by a set, but the final set clearly goes to Roger. Roger now can boast 70 tournament wins and is the sole record holder with six titles at the ATP World Tour Finals.
The tournament victory is not only cause for celebration for Roger but also for the Roger Federer Foundation which, as of 2011, is also active in Zambia and Zimbabwe. The eight tournament players auction off the contents of their lockers, i.e. their outfit, signed objects and memorabilia of the annual finale, donating the proceeds to charities of their choice. The event raises more than 50’000 USD. With 17’800 USD Roger’s locker generates the most money – to the joy of the beneficiaries of the Roger Federer Foundation.
Sharing his luck and success with others are two components that contribute to Roger’s fame and popularity world-wide. Time and again Roger has been honoured for his athletic and exemplary conduct, and once again it is the case this year. He receives the 2011 Fan’s Favourite Award and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award. In an international survey he is voted as the second most important personality of our time, behind Nelson Mandela. This is a hard-earned honour which Roger has not only worked for on the court, but mainly off the court.
In August 2011 Roger celebrates his 30th birthday, even though a few bitter setbacks cloud the delight of the season’s accomplishments. The consistency of his performance and his long-standing presence at the top of the tennis world are still unparalleled. It is difficult enough to win in good times but to fight ones way back in difficult times is what makes a true champion.
Roger has proven this quality not least with his golden autumn: Playing his best tennis, he is still able to conquer every player no matter what age. Not the glorious past, but the athletic present entitles his fans to look forward to the Olympic year 2012.
In January, Roger captures his 16th Grand Slam title at the Australian Open. A summer with quarterfinal defeats in Paris and Wimbledon is followed by the commitment of Paul Annacone and a fantastic end of the season which Roger crowns with a victory at the World Tour Finals. In February, he visits a project in Ethiopia supported by his Foundation and he plays two charity-exhibitions against Nadal to end the year.
After early defeats in Abu Dhabi and Doha, Roger celebrates his fourth title at the Australian Open - his 16th Grand Slam title. This makes him the first player, after Andre Agassi, who, as a father, raises the trophy at a major tournament.
He travels to Ethiopia in February to visit a school in the village of Kore Roba. Roger wants to gain a firsthand impression of the school which is supported by the Roger Federer Foundation as part of an EFDA project. The emotional reception moves him to tears. He plays table-tennis with the kids and answers their questions - and his age is guessed at 45.
Hereafter, he is not able to compete in any tournaments until March due to pneumonia. The illness impedes serious training and has a decisive influence on the further course of his season. At his comeback on the Tour he is defeated by Marcos Baghdatis in the third round in Indian Wells despite three match balls. He then suffers early losses in Miami and Estoril, is eliminated in the first round in Rome and is beaten by Nadal in two sets in the finals in Madrid.
His quest to defend his title at the French Open is stopped by Robin Söderling in the quarter-finals. It is the first time in 23 Grand Slam tournaments and over 6 years that Roger fails to reach the semis. On June 7th, Nadal supersedes him as the ATP Number 1; one week before Roger is able to equal Sampras' record of 286 weeks at the head of the world ranking.
Roger is defeated by Tomas Berdych in the quarter-finals in Wimbledon, failing for the first time since 2002 to reach the finals in London. On July 5th, he is ranked third in the ATP rankings.
At the end of July, Roger not only celebrates the first birthday of his twin daughters, but also engages Paul Annacone as a second coach alongside Severin Lüthi. The cooperation is on a trial basis at first and becomes definite as from end-August. The successful end of the season will prove that this was just the right decision.
He reaches the finals in Toronto and Shanghai, the semi-finals of the US Open and wins the tournament in Cincinnati. Upon his arrival in Stockholm in October, Roger reclaims the world number 2 spot and goes on to win his 3rd title of the season; the 64th in his career.
A few days later, he also reaches the finals in his home tournament in Basel. Myla and Charlene are among the spectators watching their famous daddy celebrate his 4th title in 2011 - an emotional moment for the champion.
Despite conceding five match balls in the semi-finals and thus being eliminated by Gaël Monfils in Paris-Bercy, Roger reports in top form for the ATP World Tour Finals in London. He comes up trumps in the English capital and wins all matches, not dropping a single set right up to the finals. Here he plays his best tennis against Nadal, swallows the annoying loss of the second set and clearly wins the third. He captures his fifth Masters title, joining Sampras and Lendl - the highlight of a "golden autumn", as described by the press.
At the year-end Nadal and Roger face each other twice more. They play the Match for Africa on December 21st, for the benefit of the Roger Federer Foundation and meet again one day later in Madrid – this time for Nadal's foundation. Both current top players of the Tour put their sporty rivalry to good cause in full Christmas spirit.
2009 is a legendary year for Roger. He marries his longstanding girlfriend, Mirka, in April. Almost two months later, he wins the French Open in Paris – accomplishing his career Grand Slam and equaling Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles. With his sixth Wimbledon title, he becomes the sole record holder just a few weeks later. His personal happiness is completed by the birth of the twins Myla Rose und Charlene Riva on July 23rd.
At the beginning of the year, Roger reaches the final at the Australian Open for the fourth time and fails to win for the first time. His rival, Rafael Nadal, celebrates his first Australian Open title after five sets of thrilling tennis. Roger takes revenge in May in Madrid by defeating Nadal and winning his first tournament in seven months.
On April 11th, Roger says "I do" to his fiancée, Mirka, within close family circles at the Marriage Registry in Basel. Roger informs his fan and the public about the event via his website, since no one caught wind of the secret marriage. The surprise and joy are immense, and the bridal couple is overwhelmed with congratulations.
Mr. and Mrs. Federer travel to Paris and experience a nerve-wracking tournament. Roger is close to being eliminated in the round of the last 16 against Tommy Haas as well as in the semi-final against Juan Martin del Potro and has to play the full length of five sets. With luck, skill and nerves of steel, he eventually manages to reach the final against Robin Söderling, who defeated Nadal. On June 7th, in his fourth final in Paris and long due, Roger completes the task of winning the French Open and thereby accomplishes his career Grand Slam. Prior to him, only Perry, Budge, Laver, Emerson and Agassi won the four most important tournaments in tennis. With his victory Roger also equals Pete Sampras' record of 14 Grand Slam titles.
Barely a month later, Wimbledon spectators too can witness tennis history being written. Roger has to go all the way in the final against Andy Roddick. He defeats the American 16:14 in the longest fifth set ever in a Grand Slam final. With his 15th title in the highest category, Roger becomes the sole record holder of Grand Slam victories – a truly historic moment!
Roger and Mirka will not only remember this match, but also July 23rd. The twin sisters Myla Rose and Charlene Riva are born healthy on this summer day. The Federers' family bliss is complete.
Roger, as first-time father and world number 1, takes on the US Open. Only in the final does Juan Martin del Potro prove too strong for him and defeats Roger in the fifth set. Roger thereby reaches the finals in all Grand Slams, wins two titles and loses twice in the fifth sets only. Despite being eliminated in the Masters in the semi-finals, he ends the year in position 1 for the 5th time – however, for the first time as a husband and father.
After a relatively poor season start, Roger is diagnosed with glandular fever. He nevertheless reaches the finals in Paris and Wimbledon and wins the US Open for the fourth consecutive time. An emotional highlight is his doubles victory with Stanislas Wawrinka in Beijing where they win Olympic gold.
It is the first time that Roger wins no titles during the first three months of the year. He is eliminated by Novak Djokovic in the semifinals at the Australian Open. On March 7th, Roger announces that he has been suffering from glandular fever since December the previous year. This viral disease weakens him and explains his rather poor start of the season.
His wins his first tournament of the year in Estoril and reaches the finals in Monte Carlo, Hamburg as well as Paris. It is Rafael Nadal who eliminates him at all three clay court tournaments. The defeat at the French Open is especially excruciating, since it is the third time that Roger fails to defeat the Spaniard.
Roger finds his perfect form again at the lawn tournament in Halle, capturing the title for the fifth time. He continues his spell of being unbeatable on lawn right up to the final round in Wimbledon. The final, played over five sets and becoming the longest in Wimbledon history, ends Roger's spell of 65 consecutive lawn victories. After almost five hours, Nadal wins in the London twilight.
After this depressing defeat, the Olympic Games are exactly what Roger needs. For the second time after Athens in 2004 he leads the Swiss delegation into the Olympic arena, holding the Swiss flag high. Numerous athletes from various nations and disciplines pose for a photograph with the superstar. Although he is eliminated in the quarterfinals, he comes up trumps with Stanislas Wawrinka in the doubles competition. The two win Olympic gold on August 16th after defeating the Swedish pair Aspelin/Johansson.
Two days later, Roger no longer tops the ATP rankings and has to relinquish the position after having occupied the spot without interruption for 237 weeks. This by no means stops him from defending his title in New York. He wins his fifth US Open title in the final against Andy Murray, equaling the achievements of Sampras and Connors. The co-operation with his coach José Higueras, engaged in April, is terminated at this moment despite the success.
Thousands of fans welcome Roger back home in Basel on the market square of the city a few days later. Stanislas Wawrinka and the cyclist, Fabian Cancellara - who won gold in Beijing for time trials and silver for road racing - are likewise celebrated. Roger enjoys this expression of support, going on to win his home town tournament a few weeks later.
He fails to reach the semi-finals at the Masters at the end of the season for the first time and sees the year out as the number 2 in the world rankings.
As in the previous year, Roger captures three Grand Slam titles and reaches the finals at the French Open. He breaks Jimmy Connors' number 1 record and ends the year at the top of the world rankings for the fourth consecutive year. He plays exhibitions against Grand Slam world record holder Pete Sampras and fights Nadal in the "Battle of Surfaces."
Roger starts the new season in high spirits and is the first player since Björn Borg (1980) to win a Grand Slam tournament without conceding a set. Despite a first narrowly won set, he finally manages to defeat Fernando Gonzalez convincingly in the final of the Australian Open. On February 26th, he breaks Jimmy Connors' record of remaining at the top of the world rankings for 160 successive weeks.
Roger ends Rafael Nadal's impressive series of victories on clay in Hamburg in May and wins the Masters tournament for the fourth time. Unfortunately, he cannot achieve a similar result three weeks later at the French Open. The Spaniard defends his title and Roger once again has to console himself with a small trophy for the second place. He nevertheless establishes himself as the second best male player on clay.
The two best tennis players of the time meet again in Wimbledon in the finals and go the full distance. Roger keeps his nerves in the fifth set and wins his fifth Wimbledon title in a row. He hereby breaks the record of Björn Borg, who congratulates him on the spot.
Before facing each other in the finals at Hamburg, Paris and Wimbledon, Roger and Nadal compete in an exhibition. At the "Battle of Surfaces" the one end of the court consists of a clay surface – Nadal's favourite – and the other end of lawn – Roger's preferred surface. The event is staged in Palma de Mallorca and is hardly considered as a serious test, but greatly enjoyed by both players. Roger plays further show matches against Pete Sampras in November. The "Clash of Times" thrills the players as well as the fans equally.
After his victory at the Cincinnati tournament, Roger qualifies for his tenth consecutive Grand Slam final at the US Open in September. He crowns his impressive series with an overall twelfth title in this category. Even though Roger actually only wins the first two sets against Serbia’s Novak Djokovic in the tie break, he nevertheless triumphs without dropping a set.
After New York, he defends his title in Basel and – as in the previous three years – also that at the tennis Masters. He ends the season as the world number 1 for the fourth time in a row.
In Roger's most successful year in respect of the number of tournament victories so far, he wins his Grand Slam titles numbers seven to nine. He triumphs in his hometown Basel for the first time, where he is welcomed enthusiastically by his fans in July. He becomes an Ambassador of the United Nations Children's Fund in April.
The year starts ideally. He defends his title in Doha and is the title favourite at the Australian Open. He defeats Marcos Baghdatis on four sets. After losing the first set and capturing the second 7:5 the Federer express steams his opponent with 6:0 and 6:2. Roger celebrates his seventh Grand Slam title; the third within six and a half months.
In March UNICEF selects him as its first Swiss ambassador. Roger, together with other stars such as David Beckham, Roger Moore and Shakira, is to be voluntarily involved with the United Nations Children's Fund. This is an involvement best-suited to the objectives of the Roger Federer Foundation.
In the course of the year Roger wins a total of four ATP Masters tournaments in Indian Wells, Miami, Toronto and Madrid. During the clay court season, the Spaniard Rafael Nadal steals his limelight no less than thrice. Lost finals in Monte Carlo and Rome are followed by a further defeat at the French Open in Paris. Roger nevertheless has grounds for satisfaction, since it is his first participation in the finals at Roland Garros.
He defends his title in Wimbledon for the fourth time, taking revenge on Nadal for the defeat at the French Open. He beats the world number 2 in four sets and remains the grass-court king of tennis– also due to his prior victory in Halle. He stays undefeated on his favourite surface since his first rounds elimination at Wimbledon in 2002. After this victory, his fans welcome him enthusiastically in his hometown Basel and celebrate their hero.
Roger also wins the US Open for the third time in September and can once again capture an amazing three Grand Slam titles in one season. He faces Andy Roddick yet again, whom he defeats in four sets.
His first triumph in Basel is an issue close to his heart. He used to be a ball boy at Basel tournaments and dreamed of playing on the centre court. At last he is able to defeat Fernando Gonzalez in front of the very eyes of his numerous friends and his home crowd. The victory at the Masters seals an incredible season and Roger ends the year as the number 1 in the world rankings for a third consecutive time.
Following a year without a coach, Roger engages Australia’s Tony Roche. He defends his titles in Wimbledon and New York establishes his longest series of victories. In March he visits the IMBEWU project in South Africa, which is supported by his foundation.
Russia’s Marat Safin ends Roger's spell of 26 consecutive victories in the semi-final at the Australian Open in January. The Swiss is defeated 9:7 in the fifth set; Safin goes on to win the tournament. Roger's lead in the world rankings is melting.
Roger plays a show match against Agassi in Dubai in February on the helipad of the 7-star Burj al Arab Hotel, 211m above sea level. He wins the regular tournament a few days later, same as the finals at Rotterdam a week before. This is followed by three tournament victories in the Masters series category in Indian Wells, Miami and Hamburg.
Accompanied by his newly engaged coach, Tony Roche, Roger travels to the Paris tournament in May with great confidence. He reaches the semi-finals for the first time, only to be defeated by the 19-year old Spaniard, Rafael Nadal. Despite – or rather, because of – this defeat, he commences the grass court season highly motivated and wins in Halle for the third time. He also successfully defends his Wimbledon title; he beats Andy Roddick in an impressive display for the third time in a row in London. Despite a strong performance by the American, Roger can secure the hat trick after three sets – a feat only Björn Borg and Sampras had achieved after World War II.
In September, after Wimbledon, Roger wins the US Open for the second time, defending a further Grand Slam title. He faces the American Andre Agassi in the final. After losing the first set, Agassi wins the second and even breaks our number one’s service in the 3rd set. But Roger manages to break back right away winning the set in the tie-break and finally the match in four sets.
Before and after New York, Roger also wins Cincinnati and Bangkok. He reaches the finals at the Masters Cup at the end of the year to increase his longest series of victories to 35. David Nalbandian proves too strong for a tired Roger in the final match and ends Roger's consecutive finals victory spell at 24. Roger nevertheless remains the ATP number 1.
Besides all his sports commitments, Roger makes time in March to travel to South Africa to visit the IMBEWU project which is supported by his foundation. In the townships of Port Elizabeth, Roger visits the schools of the supported children and plays soccer with them. The input of the people who are locally responsible impresses Roger and convinces him that the support of this project is the right way forward.
A fantastic year for Roger: he wins the Grand Slam tournaments of Melbourne, Wimbledon and New York. He is the first player since Mats Wilander (1988) to win three of the four major tournaments. Roger became the world number 1 in tennis; a position which he will defend until 2008 during 237 weeks.
Roger defeats the Russian Marat Safin in three sets in the finals at the Australian Open on February 1st. Due to his second Grand Slam title, he captured the number 1 position in the world rankings. He will defend this position over the next 237 weeks and thus became the player who remained on the top of world tennis for longer than any player before him.
The Australian Open is followed by three further titles in Dubai, Indian Wells and Hamburg. Unfortunately, Roger is eliminated on the third round of the French Open by the Brazilian Gustavo Kuerten. However, his grass court season is just as successful as the previous year. Roger defends his title in Halle as well as in Wimbledon. Despite losing the first set in London to Andy Roddick, he defeats the American in the finals and attends the Champions Dinner for the second time. He is the indisputable grass-court king of the circuit.
This year, his soaring flight continues after Wimbledon. His victory in Gstaad earns him his first ATP title on Swiss soil. He also wins in Toronto. September brings him another highlight: he wins his third Grand Slam title of the year in New York. After being called a Grand Slam loser the previous May he goes on to win four major titles within 14 months! He clearly dominates the former number 1 in the finals at Flushing Meadows, not only defeating the Australian Lleyton Hewitt but also winning two of the three sets to love.
The Olympic Games in Athens in August precede the US Open. Roger is selected to lead the Swiss delegation into the stadium, bearing the flag. He is proud of this honour and – as four years previously – thrilled by the Olympic spirit. However, sport-wise, the Games do not afford him any success; he is eliminated in the second round.
Due to a ruptured muscle fibre, Roger has to cancel almost the entire indoor season, but nevertheless wins the Masters for the second time at the end of the year. Just as in New York, he plays Lleyton Hewitt in the final. An incredible year is going to an end. Roger will receive the Laureus Sports Award for his achievements and will be named World Sportsman of the Year a few months later.
Roger's childhood dream comes true as he triumphs at the tennis Mecca of Wimbledon. The victory at his favourite Grand Slam tournament makes him a star once and for all. He wins the season ending Masters in Houston and finishes the year as the world’s number two. He establishes the Roger Federer Foundation in December.
At the beginning of the year– as in the previous year – Roger loses the round of the last 16 against the Argentinean David Nalbandian at the Australian Open; a disappointment for the world number 6. But he then goes on to defeat Holland with the Swiss team in the Davis Cup and win his ATP titles number five, six an seven in Marseille, Dubai and Munich.
Following his successful spring, Roger loses against the Peruvian Luis Horna in the first round at Roland Garros; a massive disappointment causing Roger to be called a Grand Slam loser. Thus, the grass court season is just the right timing for him. He wins the grass court tournament in Halle and proceeds to Wimbledon as one of the top title favourites. And this time he is up for the challenge! Despite suffering severe backache in the round of the last 16 against Feliciano Lopez – he could barely sit down during changes of ends – he defeats the Spaniard and later also Sjeng Schalken. He even goes on to defeat the number one seed, Andy Roddick, in an extraordinary semi-final. And on July 6th, it finally happens: Roger defeats Mark Philippoussis in three sets to hold up the Wimbledon trophy for the first time! The images of his tears and his cheering, which nearly causes him to break his back, spread round the world like wildfire.
Switzerland takes on France in the quarter-finals in the Davis Cup in April. Roger wins both his singles and also the doubles as the Swiss team makes it trough to the semi-finals of the Davis Cup! The showdown is scheduled for September against Australia in Melbourne. Roger defeats Mark Philippoussis in his first singles, but the Swiss team falls behind 1:2 after Roger and Marc Rosset lose their doubles. It is up to Roger to level the encounter – which he is not able to do despite a 2:0 lead in sets against Lleyton Hewitt. Switzerland is eliminated.
Roger is less successful at the 4th Grand Slam tournament of the year in New York. As in Paris, he loses against Nalbandian. Following an unsatisfactory indoor season, Roger wins the Masters Cup in Houston, Texas. He defeats Andre Agassi and Juan Carlos Ferrero in the group stage, as well as Andy Roddick, the world number one, in the semi-finals. Roger meets Agassi once again in a final that is completely dominated by the Swiss. He even tops Andy Roddick’s season statistics with seven tournament titles and 78 wins and sees the year out as number 2 of the world.
Roger establishes the Roger Federer Foundation in December. The objectives are to support schooling, sports and play in locations where the necessary financial means are lacking or insufficient. IMBEWU, a development project in South Africa, the home country of his mother, Lynette, is the first to be supported.
Roger wins on three ATP tournaments, Hamburg being his first victory at a Masters series tournament. However, he drops out in the first rounds of the Grand Slam tournaments in Paris and London. He nevertheless qualifies for the Masters Cup in Houston and ends the year on position 6 in the world rankings. His youth trainer, Peter Carter, dies in an accident in South Africa in August; Roger is profoundly shaken.
The year commences splendidly: Roger wins the tournament in Sydney. However, he is eliminated from the Australian Open in the round of the last 16 having been a secret title favourite. After losing the finals of the Maters series tournament in Miami he wins the clay court tournament in Hamburg, which forms part of the Masters series. Despite holding the number 2 spot in the Champions Race, Roger suffers a surprising first round loss against Hicham Arazi at the French Open.
Roger does not fare any better at Wimbledon, where he is eliminated by Mario Ancic. This, as well as his repeated defeat in the round of the last 16 in the US Open, gives the future Grand Slam record holder the reputation to fail at the four big tournaments. But it will not take long for Roger to prove everyone wrong.
The Swiss Davis Cup captain, Peter Carter, passes away in August due to an accident during a holiday trip in South Africa. Roger mourns his long-time youth coach and friend. He bades him farewell at the funeral in Basel; tennis is not at all that significant during this time. It is thus all the more important for Roger to win the fight against relegation in the Davis Cup against Morocco in Casablanca in remembrance of Carter. Roger does brilliantly, contributing two victories in the singles and a doubles victory to the Swiss team’s success.
Last, but not the least: also due to his fourth ATP title at the tournament in Vienna, Roger can finally qualify for the Masters of the top 8 players of the year for the first time. The tournament in Shanghai goes well and Roger is defeated only in a highly dramatic semi-final by the world first-ranked Lleyton Hewitt. He ends the season full of ups and downs as number 6.
Roger bags his first tournament victory on the ATP circuit in Milan and brings Pete Sampras' winning streak in Wimbledon to an end. He has to take a long break due to injury for the first time during summer and thus misses the Masters at the end of the season. He ends the year as number 13 in the world rankings.
Roger, together with Martina Hingis, starts the year with a success at the Hopman Cup, the world's largest mixed teams tournament. After dropping out in the third round of the Australian Open in February, the time has finally come: Roger wins his first ATP tournament! His parents are watching from the stands how he defeats the Frenchman Julien Boutter in the finals in Milan.
Roger wins both the singles and – with his partner Lorenzo Manta – the doubles of the David Cup match between Switzerland and the USA. Thanks to these victories, Switzerland qualifies for the quarter-finals, which they unfortunately lose to France in April.
After reaching his first Grand Slam quarter-finals at the French Open, he manages to play a memorable match on July 2nd in Wimbledon. On that Monday he can play in the round of the last 16 for the first time on the centre court of Wimbledon, the most famous tennis court in the world. His opponent is no-one less than Pete Sampras, the sevenfold and defending champion, who has already won 13 Grand Slam titles and is enjoying a winning streak of 31 successive matches in London. Roger defeats his former idol in a dramatic match of five sets – the tennis world is stunned. But unfortunately the young Swiss can not hold the level; he loses to Tim Henman in the quarter-finals. Nevertheless, Roger is known as the player who was able to defeat Sampras in Wimbledon from then on.
Following Wimbledon, Roger also plays in Gstaad, but thereafter has to pause several weeks due to adductorial problems and periostitis. Unfortunately this break costs him his spot at the season finale. Even though the 20-year old reaches the round of the last 16 at the US Open as well as the finals in Basel, he can no longer qualify for the Masters. He thereby misses his season goal, ending the year as 13th in the world rankings.
Roger starts working with the Swedish coach Peter Lundgren. The Olympic Games in Sydney are a great success; he reaches the semi-finals in a strong field. He meets the Swiss tennis player, Mirka Vavrinec, in the Olympic village and from the last day on, they are a couple.
Roger survives the first two rounds at the Australian Open, making his best Grand Slam appearance so far. Thereafter he reaches his first ATP finals in Marseilles, which he loses to his Davis Cup colleague Marc Rosset. On March 6th, he has already reached his goal for the year of being ranked in the top 50 when he is ranked 49th.
Roger leaves Swiss Tennis in April to stand on his own feet. In the course of this change, he decides upon Peter Lundgren as his private coach. The long-haired Swede will assist him until end-2003 and lead him to his first Grand Slam title in London. The clay season passes badly for Roger; he loses in the first rounds several times. Only at the French Open does he win matches on clay and reaches the round of 16. However, he again loses in the starting round at Wimbledon and also in the third round at the US Open.
The Sydney Olympics are a highlight for the 19-year old Roger. The size of the event, the athletes from various countries and disciplines as well as the Olympic spirit in the Olympic village fascinate him. Despite strong competitors, he reaches the semi-finals, which he loses to the German Tommy Haas. His defeat in the match for the 3rd place against the lower ranked Frenchman Arnaud de Pasquale is particularly hard to bear. Nevertheless, the tournament must be seen as a success, despite the disappointment.
Even though Roger leaves without a medal, he does not leave Sydney empty-handed. He meets the Swiss tennis player, Mirka Vavrinec, in the Olympic village and falls in love with her. He kisses his future wife and mother of his children on the last day of the Olympic Games. The love birds manage to keep their relationship a secret from the public until the summer of 2001.
Roger reaches his second finals on the ATP circuit in October; his first in the tournament in Basel – his hometown – but loses to the Swede Thomas Enqvist. The year does not end all too well for him; he only manages to win three more matches. He narrowly misses his season goal of reaching the top 25, by being ranked 29th.
The appointment of Pierre Paganini as his fitness coach in December further completes his team.
Roger receives a total of eight wild cards, makes his debut at the Grand Slam tournaments of both Paris and Wimbledon and reaches his first semi-finals on the World Tour. The professional newcomer starts the year on position 301 of the world rankings and ends the season on the fantastic 64th position.
Roger starts his first professional season as number 301 in the ATP world rankings. The first eyebrows are raised in astonishment in February in Marseille, where he defeats the world number 5 and reigning French Open champion, the Spaniard Carlos Moya. He reaches the quarterfinals in the French tournament, as he does likewise shortly thereafter in Rotterdam. On February 22nd, the ATP positions him at 129 in its rankings and Roger thereby already marches way post his season goal of the top 200.
He represents his country in its colours for the first time in April at the Davis Cup and does so splendidly! In Neuchâtel, he defeats Davide Sanguinetti, Italy's number 1 and world number 48, in his first singles. He is less successful in Brussels a few months later when he loses both his Davis Cup singles matches against Belgium.
He plays in the main draw of the French Open in Paris for the first time in May. Unfortunately, his Grand Slam hopes already end in the first round; same as his first appearance with the professionals at Wimbledon. Roger holds up well on both occasions and wins one set against Patrick Rafter (French Open) and even two against Jiri Novak at Wimbledon.
After both these honourable defeats, Roger starts a miserable summer: he loses in the first rounds seven times and fails to qualify twice. Due to a great autumn, our champ is ranked into the top 100 as the youngest player on September 20th, taking on the challenge in October in the semi-finals in Vienna and winning the challenger tournament of Brest. He ends the year as number 64 in the rankings – a true sensation.
Roger moves up to the number 1 junior and wins the junior tournament at Wimbledon. He makes his début on the professional circuit at the Swiss Open in Gstaad. In autumn he enters the tournament in Basel - his hometown - for the first time and that against no other than Andre Agassi. He celebrates New Year's Eve with blonde hair.
In the season of 1998, Roger takes up the challenge at the semi-finals of the junior tournament of the Australian Open. In June he is the winner in a town where he, years later, will enjoy a long string of victories: he wins the singles as well as the doubles (together with Oliver Rochus) in the junior tournament in Wimbledon.
His victory in England earns him a wild card for the clay court tournament in the Swiss Alps. He travels directly from London to Gstaad, where he loses against the Argentinean qualifier Lucas Arnold in two sets (4:6, 4:6). Roger fares better in the tournament in Toulouse, where he qualifies, defeats two professional players and only drops out in the quarter-finals against the player to later win the tournament.
Due to another wild card, he participates in the tournament in Basel – his home town – in October, where he has to play Andre Agassi, who indeed concedes only 5 games in two sets to young Roger. In December he wins the Orange Bowl, the unofficial junior world championship in Key Biscayne (USA), and ends the year as the number 1 in the junior world ranking. Our hero celebrates this triumph with freshly-dyed blonde hair.
Besides two further national junior titles, Roger also, for the first time, wins a big international junior tournament in Italy. After finishing his compulsory schooling, he fully focuses on tennis and, together with his friend Yves Allegro, moves into an own flat.
Roger wins two further national junior titles – now in the under-18 category. He achieves his first international success in a big international junior tournament in Prato, Italy.
There are also quite a few changes in the private life of the then 16-year old. After finishing the 9 compulsory school years in June, he decides to end his school education and fully devotes himself to tennis – a decision which his parents accept with mixed emotions, but which will later turn out to have been well worth it.
Since the Swiss Tennis training centre is being moved from Ecublens to Biel, Roger leaves his host family. He decides on flat-sharing and, together with his tennis mate, the 3-years older Yves Allegro, moves into a 2-roomed flat. The two friends – as well as Marco Chiudinelli, a tennis friend of Roger's from Basel – very often spend their free time playing computer games late into the night.
Along with the move of the tennis centre to Biel, Roger's junior coach, Peter Carter, joins Swiss Tennis and once again takes care of his ex-protégé. He will accompany the young Swiss on the professional circuit until 1999.
The young Roger continues to make progress and wins two national junior titles. In the meantime he has adjusted well to life in Ecublens and his French has improved as well.
Roger settles well into his new home in Ecublens in French-speaking Switzerland. This is also aided by his mate, Yves Allegro, a Valasian, 3 years older than Roger. He spends a lot of time with Roger, following his sporting progress with interest.
Roger becomes the Swiss Junior Champion in winter as well as in summer in the category for 16-year olds. He furthermore wins the Swiss Club Championship with his Old Boys Tennis Club. His friend, Reto Staubli, is also part of his team and will later accompany him on the professional tennis circuit. His junior coach, Peter Carter, is in the team as well and will later train Roger again from 1997 to 1999.
Roger ends the year as the number 86 in Switzerland, thus becoming a member of the A league of Swiss Tennis.
Roger is accepted by the national development programme of Swiss Tennis. It is a difficult step for the 14-year old to move from his home in Basel to the national tennis centre in Ecublens.
After winning 2 national titles in 1993 in the category for 12-year olds, his parents suggested during end-1994, that he join the national development programme of Swiss Tennis. Although Roger initially shows no interest, he nevertheless decides in March 1995 to undergo the qualification. Roger is admitted into the programme and in August he moves to his host family, the Christinets, in Ecublens, which is located on the shore of Lake Geneva in French-speaking Switzerland.
The first months are difficult for Roger; his French is not good and he is the youngest and weakest player in the training centre. Daily telephone conversations with his mother, Lynette, as well as his understanding host family and his "host brother", Vincent, and finally his own will power, assist him through these troubled times.
By reaching the quarterfinals at the Orange Bowl in Key Biscayne (USA), the most important international junior tennis tournament, Roger achieves his first international success.