Professional tennis player
Born August 8, 1981, in Basel, Switzerland; son of Robert (a pharmaceutical company employee) and Lynette Federer (a pharmaceutical company employee). Education: Attended tennis training centers in Switzerland.
Office—c/o Lynette Federer, Postfach, CH–4103 Bottmingen, Switzerland.
Tennis player; won junior Wimbledon singles and doubles and the Orange Bowl (Miami, Florida) title, 1998; ranked No. 1 in juniors in the world by International Tennis Federation, 1998; won first Association of Tennis Professionals title at Milan, 2001; won men's Wimbledon final, 2003; ranked No. 3 after Wimbledon win; won Australian Open, 2004; won Dubai Open championship, 2004; won Hamburg Masters championship, 2004; won Gerry Weber Open in Halle, Germany, 2004; won men's Wimbledon final, 2004; won Swiss open, 2004.
Swiss tennis champ Roger Federer fulfilled what many believed was his destiny with a Wimbledon win in straight sets in July of 2003. After dominating junior tennis, expectations ran high for the powerful player, but he had a knack for sliding into valleys after reaching peaks at the start of his professional career. The Wimbledon victory—his first major title—marked both a physical and psychological victory. In addition, he went down in the record books as the first Swiss man to win a Wimbledon's men's title. "He may not be the 17–year–old symbol of a nation, as Boris Becker was when he won the title," wrote Christopher Clarey in the New York Times, "and he may not exude the Nordic mystery of Björn Borg or have the Big Apple mouth of John McEnroe. But there is something magnetic about Federer's tennis: an attractive blend of smooth moving and creative thinking, of tact and force that has the potential to cut across borders."
Born in Basel, Switzerland, on August 8, 1981, Federer is the son of Robert and Lynette Federer, who both work for the pharmaceutical corporation Ciba–Geigy. His father met his mother while on a business trip to South Africa. They also have a daughter, Diana, who studies nursing. Federer grew up in the suburban Basel town of Munchenstein, and started playing tennis at age eight. His parents, who were weekend amateurs, got him interested in the game, but he took it to another level. Tennis's Cindy Shmerler wrote, "His earliest tennis–related memory is of watching his idol, Boris Becker, battle Stefan Edberg on television in the 1988 Wimbledon final. When Becker lost, Federer wept."
Federer's home town is in the German–speaking region of Switzerland, and he moved to the French–speaking area while in his early teens to train. Fellow players made fun of him, but he learned French and speaks English as well. From age 10 to 14 and on and off until 1999, he trained with Peter Carter, who was killed in a car crash in 2002. Later in his career he trained under Swedish coach Peter Lundgren. As a youth, Federer had a temper on the court. "I was hotheaded," he admitted to Tennis's Shmerler, "always acting bad on the court, throwing my racquets like ten meters from me, or into the curtain." He matured, however, into a soft–spoken athlete highly regarded by other players and members of the media.
In 1998, Federer won the Wimbledon junior title and finished that year as the number–one junior in the world. That year, he also reached the finals at the U.S. Open and semifinals at the Australian Open, and took the title and the Orange Bowl in Miami, Florida. In 1999, he was the youngest player—at 18 years, four months—to finish in the top 100. He then advanced to his first Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) semifinals in Vienna, Austria, and went on to quarterfinals in Marseille, France; Rotterdam, Netherlands; and his hometown of Basel. In 2000, he was the number–two–ranked tennis player in Switzerland and lost the bronze medal at the Olympic Games that year to Arnaud Di Pasquale.
The next year, 2001, Federer became the one to watch as he broke seven–time champ Pete Sampras's 31–match Wimbledon winning streak in the fourth round. Up to this point, Federer still had never made it past quarterfinals at a Grand Slam tournament. Also, his stunning performances were often followed by massive upsets. For instance, after showing up Sampras, he lost three first–round matches at majors, including at Wimbledon in 2002, the Australian Open in January of 2003, and the French Open in May of 2003. The Wimbledon loss was a huge setback, because it was in straight sets against Mario Ancic, ranked number 154 in the world. However, he snagged a Tennis Masters Series shield in Hamburg, Germany, in 2002 and qualified for the Tennis Masters Cup later that year in Shanghai, China. He reached the semifinals with a perfect 3–0 record before losing to eventual victor Lleyton Hewitt in three close sets.
Building on the momentum, Federer captured four titles in the first half of 2003 at Marseille, France; Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Munich, Germany; and Halle, Germany. The 2003 Wimbledon win would finally put an end to questions of whether he could overcome his anxiety to capture a major title. After beating fifth–seeded Andy Roddick, he advanced to his first Grand Slam final. On July 6, 2003, with a calm demeanor throughout, he triumphed over Mark Philippoussis, 7–6 (5), 6–2, 7–6 (3). Immediately upon winning, Federer unleashed his emotions, dropping to his knees on the court and holding his arms in the air. Then he sobbed for joy in his courtside chair. "There was pressure from all sides—also from myself," he said, as reported on Sports Illustrated's website. "It's an absolute dream for me. I was always joking around when I was a boy: 'I'm going to win this.'" The victory netted the 21–year–old Federer $959,100.
Following Wimbledon 2003, Federer lost to David Nalbandian at the U.S. Open in September in their fourth–round match. Later that month, he fell to Hewitt at the Davis Cup final as well. However, in October he bounced back by successfully defending his CA Trophy against Spain's Carlos Moya. This gave him his sixth ATP title of the year, and he also set a new record for ATP best season with 67 wins, 14 losses. In addition, it put Federer in a three–way tie with Roddick and Spaniard Juan Carlos Ferrero for the year–end ATP number–one spot. "Becoming the ATP number one is my aim," he said afterward, according to Harry Miltner of AP Worldstream. "I am not far away and I will hang on and see what happens."
Federer is six feet, one inch tall and 177 pounds, with dark–brown hair and dark–brown eyes. On his official website, he cites his favorite colors as blue, white, and red, and his favorite animals as the lion and tiger. He also reveals that his bands of choice are AC/DC and Lenny Kravitz, and that he prefers roses and orchids to any other flowers. When he is not on the court, Federer enjoys golf, soccer, skiing, video games, card games, and the company of friends. In July of 2003, he launched his own fragrance called "RF—Roger Federer," with the slogan, "Feel the touch."
As of 2003, Federer was dating Miroslava Vavrinec, a fellow Swiss tennis pro whom he met at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney, Australia. While some professional athletes live the high life after reaching a certain point in their careers, Federer appears to be attached to his family and friends near his hometown. Instead of buying his own home once he had enough earnings, he and his parents split the cost of a larger home in hilly Bottmingen, Switzerland. He also shares an apartment in Biel, near the Swiss national training center. "My family is the thing I miss most on tour," Federer told Shmerler in Tennis. "Why should I have my own place? Who is going to clean it for me?"
On December 9, 2003, Federer fired Lundgren, his coach of three years. Being without a coach did not seem to affect his game, however, because on February 1, 2004, he won the Australian Open. Federer went on to win the Dubai Open championship on March 7, the Hamburg Masters championship on May 16, and the Gerry Weber Open on June 13. On July 6, 2004, he successfully defended his Wimbledon title when he defeated Andy Roddick. Roddick told BBC.com, "Roger just played too good today. I threw the kitchen sink at him he went to the bathroom and got his tub." This win was Federer's third career Grand Slam. Federer went on to win the Swiss Open in Gstaad, Switzerland, defeating Igor Andreev, 6-2, 6-3, 5-7, 6-3. It was his first career title in his native country. Federer won his third straight title on August 1, 2004, with his defeat of Roddick at the final of the Tennis Masters Canada.
AP Worldstream, September 21, 2003; October 12, 2003.
New York Times, July 5, 2003, p. D1; July 7, 2003, p. D1; September 5, 2003, p. D1.
Palm Beach Post (Florida), July 5, 2003, p. 1C.
Sports Illustrated, July 14, 2003, p. 46.
Tennis, March 2003, pp. 28–34.
"Federer captures Gerry Weber Open," Sports Network, http://www.sportsnetwork.com/default/asp.?c=sportsnetwork&page=tennis-m/news/BCN3292934.htm (July 9, 2004).
"Federer continues streak with Swiss Open win," SI.com,http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/tennis/07/11/bc.ten.lgns.gstaadtennis.r/ (July 26, 2004).
"Federer dumps coach," Clarion-Ledger (Mississippi), http://www.clarionledger.com/news/0312/10/sbriefs.html (July 8, 2004).
"Federer fights back to retain title," BBC.com, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/3865037.stm (July 9, 2004).
"Federer retains Dubai title," BBC.com, http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/tennis/3541605.stm (July 9, 2004).
"Federer wins Wimbledon crown," News24.com, http://www.news24.com/News24/Sport/Tennis/0,,2-9-30_1552703,00.html (July 9, 2004).
"Master of Canada," SI.com,http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/tennis/08/01/bc.ten.toronto.ap/index.html (August 2, 2004).
"Pursuit of Perfection," Tennis Masters Cup, http://masters–cup.com/news/federer_bio.asp (November 9, 2003).
"Roger Federer," ATPtennis.com, http://www.atptennis.com/en/players/playerprofiles/Highlights/default.asp?playernumber=F324 (November 9, 2002).
"Roger Federer beats Marat Safin to win the German Masters tennis tourney," Slam Sports, http://www.slam.ca/SlamResults020519/ten_germany-ap.html (July 9, 2004).
Roger Federer official website, http://www.rogerfederer.com (November 9, 2003).
"Swiss success: Federer wins men's Wimbledon final in straight sets," SI.com,http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/tennis/2003/wimbledon/news/2003/07/06/wimbledon_Sunday_ap/ (November 9, 2003).
"Swiss Sweep," SI.com,http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2004/tennis/specials/australian_open/2004/02/01/men.final.ap/index.html (July 9, 2004).