He’s the most elegant athlete in sports. He glides along the court, whipping shots across the net, all while not even breaking a sweat. He’s Roger Federer.
Roger Federer is one of the most recognizable men in sports. He’s an icon for many, considered the greatest in his sport of all time. He’s won an unprecedented 16 Grand Slams, the most of all time. He’s won 5 US Opens. He’s won 6 Wimbledons. He’s won 4 Australian Opens, and even the French Open once on his “weakest” surface, clay.
Countless times since his last Grand Slam win almost two years ago, at the 2010 Australian Open, has Federer been proclaimed “done” and that “he should retire”. And countless times, he has proved critics wrong.
Most recently, at the ATP World Tour Finals in London, Federer capped his fantastic November with a win over the likes of Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. It was Tsonga who Federer defeated in the final to claim the last bragging rights of the ATP season. Federer absolutely thrashed old rival Nadal 6-3, 6-0 in O2 Arena, sending everyone a huge message.
He’s not done yet.
Even if 2011 was Novak Djokovic’s best season, winning 3 out of 4 majors, which Federer has done three times (2004, 2006, and 2007), Federer got the final laugh. He now strolls into the end of 2011 on a very high note, as he won his hometown tournament in Basel, Switzerland, then won the Paris Masters, and then the ATP Tour Finals.
Now about Federer the man off the court. I’ve always considered Federer as one of the role models of sports, a family man (his wife, Mirka, is at all of his matches), and one that is very multi-lingual. He speaks fluent Swiss-German, which is his native language, as well as, get this, German, French, and of course English, in which he sounds like a native speaker to me. His ability to charm a crowd is amazing to me. He creates more and more fans wherever he goes. That’s not exactly true about other players.
I’m not sure if you realize this, but tennis is one of the very few sports where public speaking is involved. Sure, speaking to an ESPN reporter during halftime of a NBA game is speaking, but is there another sport besides tennis and golf where you have to address your audience after winning a match or a tournament? No, not really. You have to know what to say, how much to complement your opponent without sounding too humble, and how to show you have confidence in your game without acting too cocky.
I think that Roger Federer does a masterful job. If he had time, he could be a public speaking teacher, he does it that well. He knows when to use humor, when to be serious, when to credit his opponent, and when to show that he has confidence in his game.
He’s just as flawless off the court as he is on it. He’s a stud athlete and a great role model for kids. With the question of “Who should be the role model of sports?” (Keep tuned on The News of Sports, I’ve got a post coming out about just that) being posed over and over again, I say Roger Federer should be one of them.
Now, Roger Federer isn’t a flawless person completely, he’s not perfect. The truth is, nobody is at all. He’s certainly got flaws, in his game, such as his backhand at times, but we all have flaws in some aspect of our life.
Over the years, Roger Federer has become one of the more marketable athletes on the planet because of two reasons. First of all, he’s one of the most recognizable people and athletes on the planet, partly because of the fact that tennis is played and watched by people all over the world. Secondly, it doesn’t hurt that he has won the most Grand Slams of anyone in the history of men’s tennis. Success certainly is a good thing.
His Rolex ads, while some find them a tad cheesy, I find them classic and very indicative of the person Roger Federer is. He’s an elegant player and person, and there’s no more elegant watch company than Rolex. So it’s a business relationship that makes sense.
But back to tennis a little more. Federer certainly hasn’t diminished in commercials and is a very marketable player still, because of his résumé. The number of achievements go on and on. Not to mention he’s got an interesting life story. His father is Swiss, but his mother is South African, and Federer actually has both a Swiss and a South African citizenship.
Federer turned 30 this year, the “magic number” of tennis, when most players start to decline or retire. There are always exceptions, though. Andre Agassi is one. Honestly, I don’t think age is a problem. Federer still gets around the court faster than a lot of 25-year olds. He’s very athletic and the crazy thing is, he’s never suffered a serious injury before in his career.
That’s the most incredible thing about his game. Tennis is a sport where players are constantly ailing due to both the style of play and the length of the season. Rafael Nadal, Federer’s main rival, has struggled with injury after injury, due to his dangerous style in which he plays.
Novak Djokovic, Fed’s newest rival, has struggled since the US Open because of numerous shoulder ailments and other small injuries. The amazing thing is, in nearly 15 years playing professionally, Federer has never retired after starting a match. He has never missed a Grand Slam since his amateur days. If you don’t find that impressive, I don’t know what is.
Roger Federer, right now, is my Australian Open 2012 favorite. I don’t care that Novak Djokovic won it last year, that Nadal will have weeks to recover, or that Andy Murray’s getting better with each tournament. Tennis is all about momentum and confidence, and there’s nobody who has more of each than Roger Federer. He knows he can win this tournament, which would be his first Grand Slam under coach Paul Annacone.
You hear about athletes losing their “fire” sometimes. Recently, Nadal said he’s lost some of that fire recently, but Federer still has it, for sure. He’s going to be motivated- and angry- and will do whatever it takes to win Down Under. The ending of Roger Federer’s career has not yet been written- in fact, it has just started. I think we’ll see Fed in tennis for at least 3 more years. His longevity will never fail him. He’s one of the best the world has ever seen. He has everything going his way, and he’s already gearing up for what could potentially be a great 2012 season.