Last updated on April 18th, 2018
Roger Federer is a Swiss tennis player. Tennis players and analyst consider him to be the greatest tennis player of all time. He has many records to his name. With these facts about Roger Federer, let us explore more about his early life, tennis career, philanthropy, and commercial association with some of the world’s leading brands including Rolex and Mercedes.
About Roger Federer’s childhood and early life
1. On August 8th, 1981, Roger Ferderer was born in Basel, Switzerland to Robert and Lynette Federer. He has an elder sister – Diana Federer (born – 1979).
2. His parents named him Roger because they thought it was easier to pronounce this name in English. The name Federer is an extremely uncommon clan name in Switzerland.
3. Federer started playing tennis at the age of 6.
4. He holds dual citizenship. Along with being a Swiss national, he is also a citizen of South Africa, as his mother hails from the country.
5. Roger Federer’s parents played tennis as a hobby in South Africa while they were pursuing their careers. However, they returned to Switzerland in 1973. His father, Robert, in fact, was a regionally ranked player in Switzerland. Roger’s mother used to play field hockey during her youth.
6. His mother Lynette was also a gifted tennis player and enjoyed the game a lot. She even became a junior level coach at the Swiss inter-club in 1995.
7. Stephan Edberg and Boris Becker were his childhood tennis legends.
8. By age 11, he was among Switzerland’s top junior players.
9. Before winning his Wimbledon singles title in 2003, Federer won the boys’ title there in 1998.
10. Because of a back problem, Federer was discharged from serving in the Swiss military.
11. Did you know that Roger Federer used to hit tennis balls against wall, a garage door, or even against the cupboard in the house? This certainly represents the love that this little champ had for the game during his early years. Roger Federer’s mother recalls, “He had to keep moving, otherwise he became unbearable”.
12. Did you know that Michael Jordan was one of Roger Federer’s childhood idols? Michael Jordan even attended Federer’s first round match in the 2014 U.S. Open.
13. Interestingly, Federer’s sister Diana, who is two years older than him, did not follow every detail of her brother’s career. She would only occasionally watch her brother’s matches.
14. Roger Federer’s first idol was Boris Becker.
15. Federer turned professional in 1998 and won his first grand slam title at Wimbledon in 2003, becoming the first Swiss tennis star ever to have won a singles grand slam.
16. At the age of 14, Federer became Switzerland’s junior champion. And he was subsequently chosen to train at the Swiss National Tennis Centre in Ecublens.
17. At the age of 16, he received his first sponsorship.
18. In 1998, he was also recognized as the ITF World Junior tennis champion of the year.
19. Federer beat Sampras in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001 in five sets. This match is often cited as the changing of the guard. This was their only professional meeting. Sampras was riding on 31 straight wins leading to this match.
20. In 2003, he won his first major grand slam title at Wimbledon beating Mark Philippoussis (7–6(7–5), 6–2, 7–6(7–3)).
21. During the next year, he was able to win the Australian Open and defend his Wimbledon title.
22. Roger Federer could also be the athlete who has conducted the most number of interviews in any sport. However, when he was a young tennis player, he was afraid of the press. He thought that the press would write bad things about him. Before the end of 1999, Federer had to attend three days training at the “ATP tour University” in Monte Carlo. This training helped him come over his fear of talking to the press.
23. At an early age, Federer was able to sense his potential but he was not able to transform his talent into reality. Maybe he needed more time and practice to bring out the best in him.
24. Federer won 24 consecutive single professional finals between July 2003 and November 2005.
25. In 1994, Roger had his picture taken with Jimmy Connors during the Swiss Indoors. He was a ball boy at the event.
26. Federer is also a part of the first ever ATP singles final played between two Swiss players (Marseille in 2000).
27. Another interesting bit here is that Roger would lose to almost everybody in training. However, when it came down to matches, he would up his game and show his real potential. Even Roger admitted that he disliked training and he was more of a match player. He said, “I was conscientious but I didn’t like to train.”
28. Sometimes Federer would get furious between the matches when he was not able to win the points or when he was not performing at his best level. He said,”I was constantly cursing and tossing my racquet around.” He had to calm down and make some positive changes because his parents were also annoyed with this habit of his and warned him that they won’t attend his matches if he did not stop doing this.
29. Until the age of 12, Roger was involved in soccer, along with tennis. However, due to time commitment and inability to handle the growing demands from both the sports, he had to choose only one. And he chose tennis. Roger quickly realized that his talent lay not in his feet but in his right hand.
30. Pierre Paganini also played a crucial role in shaping Federer’s career.
31. Federer was not so good at school. He even fell asleep three or four times. He just had no ambition to excel at school. All he was interested in was tennis. During that time, Federer was really good at tennis. But no one imagined that he would someday become the world’s best tennis player and would dominate the game like nobody ever in the history of the game.
32. Federer found tennis so fascinating that he had an enormous ability to learn tennis from the matches he watched on TV. Federer always wanted to be the best player in the world. And he had this thing in his head and he worked hard for achieving this goal.
33. Federer was a vegetarian until the age of 16. He was advised to eat meat by a fellow player Marc Rosset.
34. As Federer played more tennis he was ranked number 86 in Switzerland. At this time he was just 15 years old and the Swiss Tennis Federation promised him additional financial support.
35. Once Federer and his fellow players were asked to fill a form and state their goals. Most of the players wrote that they wanted to be among the top 100 in the world someday, whereas, Roger wrote: “To be in the top 10 in the world and then become No. 1.”
36. In 1997, Federer completed the compulsory 9 years of school and decided that he would become a professional tennis player.
37. Once Federer made a decision to became a professional tennis player, his parents were aware that this move could be risky and unpredictable. However, they let their child pursue his dreams and at the same time made him aware of their limited financial resources. Thus, it was clear to Roger that he had to work hard and make money from tennis while enjoying the game. But because of the backing Federer received from the Swiss Tennis Federation, he had enough financial support to pursue his career in tennis.
38. When Federer began his professional training away from his home, he stayed with other aspiring players in an apartment. One of his fellow players said that Federer was never a party guy. Rather he liked playing computer games until late night.
39. Did you know that Federer in a tournament was once fined $100 for not putting in the best efforts that professional players are expected to? And his prize money for the tournament was just $87. So, he left the tournament with a net deficit of $13, the first and the only time he played a tournament where he actually lost money.
40. By the time Federer was 18 years old, he had gathered $223,859 in career prize money. This was an impressive amount for an 18-year-old amateur player.
Marriage and family life
41. In 2009, Federer married his longtime girlfriend Mirka Vavrinec, a former Swiss professional tennis player. Federer met Mirka in Sydney Olympic in 2000. Mirka is three years older than Federer. She reached her career-high WTA singles ranking of world No. 76.
42. The couple welcomed their first set of twin girls in July 2009 and again became parents to another set of twin boys on May 06, 2014. The girls were named – Myla and Charlene while the boys were named – Leo and Lenny.
Philanthropy, interests, recognition, racquet head size
43. He established ‘Roger Federer Foundation’ in 2003 to help children in countries where child mortality rate is above 15%. When he started the foundation, he did not have enough money. However, he chose to dedicate a part of his life and a portion of his earnings towards this noble cause.
44. Maldives, Dubai, and Swiss mountains are among his favorite holiday destinations.
45. Switzerland has released a special postal stamp in his honor. In fact, he is the only living Swiss person in whose honor a Swiss postal stamp was released. They did this in 2007. The stamp pictured him holding the Wimbledon trophy.
46. He is the richest tennis player in the world. His net worth is said to be $420 million according to Net Worth Post. And he has collected $115,542,337 as prize money (as of 2018.02.19).[18,19]
47. In 2012, a street in Germany, in the city of Halle, was named after him – “Roger Federer Allee.” In 2016, Switzerland followed suit and also named a street in Biel, “Roger-Federer-Allee”.
48. In 2015, Federer was deemed as the world’s most marketable sports start by London School of Marketing.
49. Federer can speak multiple languages including English, German, Swiss-German and French. Swiss-German is his first language.
50. Roger Federer switched to 97 square-inch frame in 2014. It brought more control and power to his shots, especially backhands. Earlier in his career, he used 90 square-inch frames.
Records and accomplishments
51. He has an amazing record of never retiring from a match because of injuries. Never ever! That’s an amazing streak, isn’t it! Rafael Nadal has however retired at least 7 times.
52. Federer is the only player to win Wimbledon and the U.S. Open for four consecutive years. He did this between 2004 and 2007.
53. Federer became the world number one on 02.02.2004 and retained the position until 17.08.2008. He then again became the world number one player on 06.07.2009 and retained the spot until 06.06.2010. He proved his talent once again and clinched the top ranking on 09.07.2012 where he remained till 04.11.2012. On 19.02.2018, he once again became the number one tennis player in the world.
54. He has held the sweet spot for more than 302 weeks now. And is the only player to have stayed on the top for a record 237 straight weeks (2004-2008).
55. He is now also the oldest male tennis player to become the world number one at the age of 36.
56. He was also the president of the ATP Player Council for six years between 2008 and 2014.
57. In 2006 season, Federer collected a total prize money of $8,343,885 which was nearly two million dollars more than Pete Sampras’ record earning during a year.
58. He also won 92 matches and lost only 5 during the same season, becoming the first player since 1982 to win more than 90 matches in a single season.
59. After a successful 2006 season, Federer decided to play at selected tournaments and not everywhere. He realized that it is important to take breaks when needed and prepare well for the next event. He just wanted to accomplish more while playing less.
60. Federer has won 20 Grand Slam finals, played 30 finals, 43 semi-finals, and 52 quarter-finals.
61. Did you know that Federer has hit 10,414 aces till date in 1,336 matches overall? He sits at the number two spot behind Ivo Karlovic on the list of career aces on all surfaces from all countries.
62. Federer’s fastest serve is 230 km/h. And the fastest serve ever recorded in the history of tennis was served by Sam Groth at 263 km/h.
63. Did you know that the longest match Federer played lasted for 5 hours 5 minutes? He played Rafael Nadal in the Match in 2006 where he was defeated in five sets.
64. Federer played his first ATP Final in 2000 at the Marseille Open where he lost to his fellow Swiss player Marc Rosset. And he won his first Masters Series event in Hamburg Masters beating Marat Safin in the final.
65. Two of the main rivals of Roger Federer include Rafael Nadal and Djokovic. Federer and Djokovic have faced each other 45 times with Djokovic leading 23–22. However, Federer and Nadal have faced each other 38 times with Nadal leading 23-15 (as of February 24, 2018).
- René Stauffer. Roger Federer: Quest For Perfection. New Chapter Press, U.S. (1 July 2010)