“You always want to win. That is why you play tennis, because you love the sport and try to be the best you can at it.” – Roger Federer
Roger Federer has won the Grand Slam 19 times, and is poised to go down in history as one of the best tennis players the world has ever seen. Here are 41 facts about the tennis champion:
Roger Federer was born in Basel, Switzerland in 1981 to Lynette and Robert Federer. His mother is from South Africa, and his father is from Switzerland. His parents met while Robert was on a trip to South Africa, and they now both work for pharmaceutical companies. Since his parents are from two countries, Federer was able to get citizenship to both Switzerland and South Africa.
40. It’s In the Genes
Roger’s mother Lynette was very athletic when she was in high school in Johannesburg. She played netball, participated in track and field, and seriously competed in field hockey before consistent leg injuries kept her from progressing further in the sport.
Federer started playing tennis when he was 8 years old, although at the time he also dabbled in other sports such as badminton and basketball. By the time he was 11 years old he was already the top junior tennis player. After this outstanding year, Federer decided to focus all of his athletic effort on tennis.
38. Veggies, Please
Until he was 16, Federer was a vegetarian.
37. Hidden Talent
Federer can also play the piano; he took lessons as a child.
He sings also!
36. Teen Dream
As a serious teen player, Federer participated in 2 tournaments per month, traveling with his parents to different cities in order to compete with the best players in his league. The work paid off: at fourteen, he became the national champion of all groups in Switzerland.
35. Reach for the Stars
Roger’s parents didn’t push him very hard at tennis, but his father Robert did say one thing that possibly put his son on the professional track. Robert said that if Roger truly wanted to keep playing tennis, he should aim to be at least in the top 100 players, so that he could start getting paid, instead of paying to enter tournaments and travel. Roger took this advice seriously, and by 2004 he was already in the number 2 spot. By 2005, he was number 1.
34. Jumping the Gun
He became pro in 1998, but he had already won Wimbledon and the Orange Bowl as a Junior before even being considered a professional tennis player.
33. Start Strong
Federer has said that believes serving is the most difficult part of tennis, because it needs extreme coordination to be done right. As a kid, he knew that serving was his weak point, and he purposely used his forearm more in order to gain strength.
Roger Federer was once asked how he felt about becoming famous. He said that sometimes he enjoys it a lot, like when he gets invited to red carpet events. Other times, it feels really strange for random people to recognize him and start following him around. He has also said that other celebrities tend either completely love fame, or totally reject and hate it—for him, however, it’s somewhere in-between.
31. Around the World
Federer has played tennis tournaments in 23 countries overall and has won tournaments in a total of 15 countries; he is truly one of the best athletes in the world.
30. Surpassing His Hero
Growing up, Roger Federer looked up to Pete Sampras, who had 14 Grand Slam titles during his career. Federer broke this record—a long time goal of his—at Wimbledon in 2009, and has continued to rack up Grand Slams.
29. Alter Ego
Federer gets interviewed in multiple languages, and he says that for some reason, he feels like he creates characters or personas during these interviews, depending on what language is being spoken. It forced him to analyze himself a lot, and get to know himself better in different languages.
He says that Italian is his favorite type of food, especially when he gets to eat it in Rome. Funnily enough, he also has a brand deal with Barilla Pasta and the company even made him personalized pasta noodles.
27. Keeping Time
In 2003, Federer landed his first luxury watch endorsement deal with Maurice Lacroix. When he signed with the brand, however, Rolex competed with the company and persuaded Federer to switch to their products—Rolex paid him $15 million for his ad deal.
26. Rocking Out
His favorite band is AC/DC.
Roger Federer is good friends with the professional golf player Tiger Woods.
24. Sign of the Cross
Roger Federer’s parents raised him to be a Roman Catholic, and the tennis player met Pope Benedict XVI in 2006.
23. Clean Shave
In another brand deal, Federer has been starring in commercials for Gillette razors since 2007.
22. Pumped Up Kicks
In 2008, Nike signed him on possibly his biggest endorsement deal ever: When you see him play, Federer is head-to-toe in Nike gear. His contract guarantees the partnership for 10 years and is worth $120 million. Nike and Federer also released a line of clothes called the Roger Federer Collection.
21. World Traveler
He says that he doesn’t get time off for a proper family vacation, so he has to plan his holidays around wherever he is going to play a tennis tournament. Whenever he is in a new country, he can usually take a couple days off to relax and do touristy things.
20. One with Nature
When he isn’t playing tennis, Federer loves to go hiking. On his Instagram, he often includes photos of his hikes through the famous Swiss Alps.
19. Til Death Do Us Part
Roger Federer married Mirka Vavrinec in 2009. She was also a professional tennis player; they met in 2000 when they were both competing for Switzerland at the Olympics in Sydney, Australia. After getting to know each other for two weeks, they had their first kiss on the last day of the Olympics. The rest is history!
Federer and Vavrinec have not just one, but two sets of twins. They have two girls—Myla and Charlene—and two boys—Leo and Lenny. Twins run in the family: Roger’s older sister Diana is also a mother to a set of twins.
17. His Number One
Even though he’s a tennis star, family is still the top priority in Federer’s life. When he first had his twin girls, he said that he actually enjoyed waking up in the middle of the night to change diapers because, “it’s the things you do.”
One of his top rivals in tennis is Rafael Nadal, from Spain. They have played each other 37 times to date; Nadal has beaten Federer on clay courts 13-2, but Federer edges out Nadal on hard courts 10-9 and grass 2-1. The two swap top ranks regularly.
In addition to his personalized Barillo pasta, Roger Federer gets custom-made tennis rackets from premier tennis company Priority One.
14. Milking It
When he won the Swiss Open in 2003, Federer was given an odd prize: A milking cow named Juliet. In 2013, he was gifted a second cow named Desiree. He was also given another cow named Desiree when he won again. He gave the cows to dairy farmers because he wasn’t exactly sure what to do with them.
13. Fragrance by Federer
He has his own cologne brand, “RF,” which are simply his initials.
12. Serious Financial Backing
Switzerland is famous for its banking system, so it only makes sense that Credit Suisse wanted to get in on Federer’s advertisement deals. Business Insider estimates that he made $20 million on that deal.
11. Nice Ride
Federer is an ambassador for Mercedes-Benz, so naturally he drives their cars. He has multiple Mercedes in his personal car collection, including the E-Class Cabriolet, which is worth roughly $75,000.
The Roger Federer Foundation has raised over $40 million in charity in order to better educate children in both South Africa and Switzerland.
9. The Big Bucks
According to Forbes, Federer is worth $64 Million. He won millions in prize money, but at least $40 million would have gone to taxes. He also makes money from his many brand deals, so there is a possibility that his net worth could be higher. According to Business Insider’s updates from 2017, his net worth is closer to $320 million.
One of his signature moves on the tennis court has been nicknamed “The Sneak Attack By Roger” (SABR for short), which is an aggressive backhand side that most of his opponents never see coming.
In 2016, Roger Federer topped the London School of Marketing’s Most Marketable Athletes list. Federer’s talent, charity work, and staying power on the courts helped to land him the number one spot.
6. Enjoy the Success
Roger Federer owns luxury penthouses in cities across the world, including Dubai and Valbella, Switzerland. He also has a luxury mansion on Lake Zurich, which cost over $8 million.
While Federer is known for playing with humility, professionalism, and calmness, it wasn’t always so. Most fans don’t know that teenage Federer was, like most adolescents, a bit more hot headed. David Law, a former ATP communications manager, discussed in an interview with the Herald Sun how 16-year-old Federer used to break down and throw his racket during matches.
At age 21, Federer received a heart-breaking wakeup call when his former coach, Peter Carter, died in a car accident in 2002. According to David Law, the event devastated Federer and also “made Federer grow up incredibly quickly. because I don’t think he’d ever had to think about mortality before. It stopped him in his tracks and it caused him problems for a long time in terms of dealing with it, dealing with the grief.”
To say that from that point forward Federer was a more level-headed, focused player is an understatement: he Wimbeldon in 2003 before capturing three Grand Slams the following year.
4. Style Icon
In 2016, GQ Magazine called him “The Most Stylish Man.” He is known for wearing bright colors when he plays rather than the traditional plain white tennis outfits. He is also close friends with Anna Wintour, Vogue‘s Editor-in-chief.
In 2016, Roger Federer sustained a knee injury that barred him from playing tennis for most of the year. Because these kinds of injuries become more and more difficult to recover from, many players begin to think about retirement around their 30s. Federer is currently 36 and a senior in the tennis world.
2. Plans to Move On
Given the early retirement age of many pro tennis players, many of them still continue to teach private lessons at country clubs after their championship careers are over. If they are rich enough to stop working, they often spend their time sitting in the audience courtside. Federer doesn’t want to do that; he says that he can live without tennis being a part of his life.
1. Still Going Strong
In 2017, Federer came back from his injury to win Wimbledon for the 8th time. At 35 years old, he is the oldest man to ever win the title—he may continue to compete for years to come.
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