A Tribute To Tennis’ Best Ever: Roger Federer

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Issue 3, Volume 113

By Vedant Kothari 

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The year was 1998. In Gstaad, Switzerland, Roger Federer was facing Lucas Arnold Ker in Federer’s inaugural Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tournament. Fast forward 24 years and 20 Grand Slam singles later, the Laver Cup hosted Federer’s last ever professional game—and what a game it was.

The American duo of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe took on Federer and his long-term rival from Spain, Rafael Nadal. The Swiss and the Spaniard ended up taking the first set 6-4, but a comeback from the American duo in the second and third set won Team World the annual 2022 Laver Cup. In the end, the score mattered the least. That day, for all tennis fans, was one to rejoice and bid farewell to one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. Not many have left as much of an impact on the sport of tennis as Federer. The moment the game was over, Federer hugged Nadal and went over to Sock and Tiafoe to congratulate them. Shortly after, the tears began. Nadal started crying as well, but his tears were drowned out by the thunderous applause echoing from the stands.

Post-match, Federer told a reporter, “I enjoyed tying my shoes one more time. Everything was the last time.” Eight days prior to the game, he released an official statement across his social media platforms, stating that the Laver Cup in London would be the final ATP event of his career. Let’s take a look at some of the statistics which have solidified Roger Federer’s position in the history of tennis.

#1: Consecutive Weeks as the World’s Number One Player:

Nowadays, with new talent emerging in every tennis tournament, the top spot is constantly up for grabs, making consistency the key ticket to a long-term run at the top. Throughout his career, Federer’s consistency was unmatched. Federer’s journey at the number one spot began on February 2, 2004, when he defeated Andy Roddick at the Australian Open. Fast forward 237 weeks later, he was still at that number one spot. In terms of competition for that record, Jimmy Connors comes second, but he only spent 160 consecutive weeks at the top of the ATP rankings, which is incomparable to Federer’s 237. This incredible statistic highlights one of the best qualities of Federer which is not admired enough: consistency.

#2: Tiebreak Record in Major Finals:

As the sport of tennis becomes more and more competitive, the time each match takes continues to increase, emphasizing each player’s grit and determination. It often goes unnoticed how much effort it takes to win each point, and these players partake in these endeavors for hours. In Federer’s case, his grit and determination could be proved through his tiebreak record in major finals. In these tiebreaks, he has won 19 out of 25 in his entire career, which comes out to be a 76 percent success rate. Bear in mind that a tiebreaker is the 13th game in a set, so both players are physically drained and exhausted by that point. For Federer, he was able to overcome this exhaustion 3/4 of the time in order to win the tiebreakers, showing how his “never give up” mindset was vital to his success as a tennis player.

#3: Winning Two Different Grand Slams For Five Consecutive Years:

Not many can claim they have won both the U.S. Open and Wimbledon in their careers, but Federer is one of those few. In fact, he can say he won five of each in a span of five years. Federer collected five Wimbledon trophies between 2003 and 2007 and five U.S. Open trophies between 2004 and 2008. This statistic makes him the only player in tennis history to have five-year winning streaks in two different Grand Slam tournaments. His domination in each of these tournaments for those five years are what make him the player he is: one who is never satisfied with his winnings.

Though Federer played his last official game, his career gives us something to look back on: eight Wimbledon titles, five U.S. Open titles, six Australian Open titles, and one French Open title. Not many will be able to surpass what he has done in his career, and his records only corroborate that. Though it was your last time playing a professional tennis match, we thank you for everything, Roger.