The end was near, the news was expected but no one was ready to confront it. Roger Federer bid adieu to the Tennis world on 16th September 2022. Social media was flooded with lots of emotional messages for the tennis champion. This year’s Laver Cup will be the last time we see the great man playing professional tennis.
Federer: Too good to be true
An athlete can never be bigger than the Sport, but no one else will reduce the gap as Roger Federer did. He was once in a generation player. He raised the level of tennis so high that the unachievable was just a mere formality for him. The 19-year-old teenager announced himself on the biggest stage by defeating the then Wimbledon superstar Pete Sampras in 2001 ending a 31-match winning streak. Who knew, Federer would rule on the Flushing Meadows in the years to come! The King of Tennis ruled the world for more than two decades.
His elegance, grace, and ability to turn defense into attack were second to none. His technique was too good to be true. He glided through the court, weaving his magic by surprising opponents with jaw-dropping stuff each time. The master had a deadly accurate serve, signature one-handed backhand, and a deceptive slice that rattled the opposition. He pounced on any half volley with a majestic forehand down the line and the rally was over even before you knew it.
His silky hands at the net and astounding approach shots even made the opponents gasp in awe. And when you thought you had seen everything, he would surprise you with the most unthinkable like a SABR or a tweener. The noteworthy thing about his career was that he played such an aggressive brand of tennis yet he hardly made any errors. The nonchalance and the grace with which he carried himself on and off the field made people spellbound.
He was a literal Zen Master in complete control of things around him. A point won or lost, Federer had the same expression on his face with an occasional fist pump after a winner. Federer made greatness look freakingly easy. Roger Federer was not just an athlete, he became a brand. He became synonymous with perfection.
Federer has 20 Grand slam titles, 77 ATP titles, 2 Olympic medals, and 3 Davis Cup titles to his name. He single-handedly took Switzerland to the Davis Cup title in 2014. He was ranked No.1 for record 310 weeks (237 consecutive weeks), later broken by Djokovic. 2004-2008 was a magical period in his career. He hardly put a foot wrong on the court. Federer is the first and only male player in Open Era history to win five straight US Open titles (2004-08) and 40 consecutive matches at the US Open. Federer set a record by reaching 10 consecutive major finals (from 2005 Wimbledon to 2007 US Open), without losing two in a row.
But the legacy of Federer is beyond numbers. He inspired countless young kids to pick up a racket and pursue their dreams. Players like Carlos Alcaraz, Casper Rudd, Stefanos Tsitsipas, and Sinner weren’t even born when Roger made his debut. That is a hallmark of his longevity. Many of the players he played with turned into commentators and coaches but the evergreen Roger Federer was still winning titles.
He kept us enthralling and made our life bearable through his god-like presence. The boy from Basel came, saw, and conquered the field for 24 long years. But the legacy is here to stay forever!
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