Roger Federer, the master of tennis, ends his incredible career with a defeat

Adored by some careers, respected by all, Roger Federer drew a line on Saturday on nearly 25 years of exceptional tennis by bowing to the Laver Cup in London during a farewell ball in doubles with his biggest rival, Rafael Nadal. They were beaten by the American pair of Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe.

The debate over the best player in history is endless, but by his record, his brilliant game, his elegance and his charisma, Roger Federer remains in history as the undisputed master of world tennis.

He bowed out on Saturday, September 24, in front of a full house, playing his last doubles match associated with Rafael Nadal. The pair lost to Americans Jack Sock and Frances Tiafoe in the Laver Cup, London.

Since he announced his retirement, “Pistol” Pete (Sampras), the Kid of Las Vegas (Andre Agassi), the Bull of Manacor (Rafael Nadal), all bowed to the master.

“Hi Roger, this is Pistol (…) When we faced each other for the first time, you were only 19 years old (…) We fought a big battle on the Center court of Wimbledon and you had beaten me in five sets”, recalled Sampras, whose public appearances are extremely rare since leaving the circuit in 2002, but who split a video on social networks to greet the departure retired from Switzerland.

“Your game and your mind taught us how beautiful the game of tennis could be (…) Thank you RF”, complimented Agassi.

“He’s one of, if not the most important player in my career,” said Nadal, the record holder of Grand Slam titles (22), before playing doubles alongside him the last match of the Swiss whose counter remained blocked at 20 Majors, also defeated by Novak Djokovic (21).

But in hearts he remains number one almost everywhere. At Wimbledon, his favorite playground where he won eight times, at Roland-Garros where the public was relieved to see him complete his collection of Grand Slams in 2009, and in all the tournaments where his fans supported him unconditionally. .

Federer had all the attributes of the ideal champion. And above all a game like no other, aesthetic, offensive, exciting.

“There are people who followed tennis without liking tennis, to watch Federer”, noted former Swiss number 1 Marc Rosset.

The opposition of style with Rafael Nadal has made their rivalry a legend, coupled with a friendship that has never wavered.

“Perfect”, according to Nadal

“He has a perfect serve, a perfect volley, a more than perfect forehand, a perfect (one-handed) backhand; he is very fast, everything is perfect at home”, a summary of Nadal.

Outside the courts, the Swiss is also a sort of ideal gender: in love for more than twenty years with the same woman, Mirka Vavrinec, a former tennis player of Slovak origin whom he met at the Sydney Games in 2000, caring father of four children (twins and twins), engaged in charitable work, especially in South Africa, the country of origin of his mother, the friend of Tiger Woods is almost unanimous.

Even among those he martyred on the court. “I wish I could hate you, but you’re too nice,” Roddick told her after a Wimbledon final.

The Swiss has always liked to “give the image of a good person”, including taking care of his communication during endless interview sessions granted without hesitation in the four languages ​​he masters (Swiss German, English, French , German).

His track record is huge. To the Grand Slam titles, we must add six Masters, a Davis Cup and an Olympic gold medal (in doubles with Stan Wawrinka), the singles gold remaining the only important trophy that he lacks. In total, he won 103 titles on the ATP Tour and spent 310 weeks in the first place in the world, a record that Djokovic has since spectacularly increased to 373.

Certainly, the talent was detected early in this boy born in Basel in 1981. But this “rough diamond to polish”, according to his own expression, had to suppress a dilettante side and a tendency to swing his racket when things were not turning out. as he wanted.

Late maturity

For this reason, he had to wait until his sixth year on the circuit for his first major trophy, on the lawn of Wimbledon in 2003, at almost 23 years old.

This achievement in the tournament he cherishes among all heralded the start of a feast of Grand Slam titles: eleven – out of a possible 16 – from 2004 to 2007. The competition of then, Lleyton Hewitt and Andy Roddick in the first row , is crushed.

Things will get tough when Nadal and Djokovic mature, but Federer will win and the legend will be enriched with epic matches, such as the two Wimbledon finals of 2007 (won) and 2008 (lost) against the Spaniard. On the decline (temporarily) from 2011, he signed a breathtaking return to the fore in 2017 and 2018 and added to his collection three Grand Slam titles to finish with eight Wimbledon, six Australian Open, five US Open and at Roland Garros.

Of a seemingly ordinary physique (1.85 m) but endowed with exceptional qualities of speed and endurance, he had the advantage of being almost never injured until he was over 35 years old. He underwent his first operation, on a knee, in 2016, after injuring himself… bathing his daughters.

Inhabited by an inexhaustible thirst for victories, he approached longevity records – his last title at the Australian Open had made him the second oldest winner of a Grand Slam tournament behind Ken Rosewall – when his knee recalcitrant put an end to his fabulous epic, at 41, after more than 1,500 matches over more than 24 years.

With AFP


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