A SWISS IN RISE: FEDERER’S ASCENT TO GREATNESS
A legend. An icon. The world’s #1 tennis player. Roger Federer is all of those things. With 20 men’s singles Grand Slam championship to his name, Federer holds a world record that any other tennis player would find hard to beat.
Federer first stepped into the world of tennis at the age of eight. By 11 years old, he was considered one of the top 3 junior players in Switzerland. Then, at 14, he emerged as a junior champion in his country. Federer bagged the Wimbledon junior singles championship in 1998, followed by the Orange Bowl junior tournament trophy. He made another milestone by becoming the youngest tennis player to be a part of the Swiss Davis Cup team at the age of 18 years old. During this period, he ended up in the world’s top 100 tennis players, ranking at #64.
In the years to follow, Federer would rise up in the world rankings due to his incessant wins and impressive gameplay. He participated at the 2000 Olympic Games in Sydney and proceeded to a match for the bronze medal. In 2001, he advanced to Wimbledon semifinals by defeating Pete Sampras. Then, in 2003, Federer finally bagged his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon. This success would be followed by win at his first Australian Open and first US Open. The year 2004 became a milestone in Federer’s career, marking his achievement as the world’s #1 tennis player.
Federer’s continued career rise remained throughout the next several years. He won tournament after tournament, including the Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the US Open, setting a record for winning the Australian and US Open for three consecutive years. However, his ran out of luck during his match against Rafael Nadal in the 2006 French Open, where the latter beat Federer. In 2007, Federer championed again at the Australian Open but lost again to Nadal at the French Open. Their extreme matches marked a great rivalry that would impact both players’ entire tennis career. Then, in his 2007 Wimbledon match against Nadal, Federer finally prevailed and at the same time bagged his 5th consecutive Wimbledon title. In the same year, Federer further made history with his fourth consecutive win of the US Open.
However, Federer succumbed once more to Nadal’s prowess in the 2008 Wimbledon finals. He also lost his world’s #1 ranking to Nadal despite his other wins, including his men’s doubles gold medal, which he won by teaming up with Stan Wawrinka, at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.
Finally, in 2009, Federer bagged for the first time the French Open Championship. This finally set his record of winning each of the four Grand Slam tournaments. At the same time, he tied with Sampras for having the most win (14) in Grand Slam titles. His winning streak continued with his match against Andy Roddick, whom he defeated after a five-set match at the Wimbledon. Then, he eventually became the world’s #1 tennis player again. The Swiss met the Brit who was Andy Murray at the 2010 Australian Open, but Federer still emerged as the winner. His clash with Murray continued at the London Olympics, where the Brit tennis player beat him to the gold medal.
The years 2013–2014 were the rocky period of Federer’s career. He suffered from an injury in 2013 and managed to reach only one Grand Slam finals but lost the championship to Novak Djokovic (Wimbledon) in 2014. Still, Federer proved that he could win the 2014 Davis Cup, his first for this tournament. In 2015, his career suffered from a slip with his loss to Djokovic at both the Wimbledon and US Open finals. Then in 2016, Federer announced a break from his career due to a serious knee injury.
Was Federer’s career on the brink of its end? Apparently not. In 2017, he rocked the world of tennis by defeating Rafael Nadal at the Australian Open after a historical five-set final match. This shocking event was followed by his championship win at Wimbledon. Interestingly, in this tournament, Federer DID NOT LOSE A SINGLE MATCH. He also unbelievably set another world record by winning the tournament for 8th time. In 2018, he won for the Australian Open singles for the fourth time and reached the semi-finals at the 2019 French Open. He also joined the Wimbledon but lost the finals match to Djokovic after a grueling 4-hour, 57-minute battle.
FEDERER’S CAREER HIGHLIGHTS: A TIMELINE
With his streak of wins and considerable number of years playing tennis, it would be hard to keep up with Federer’s colorful and successful career. Some of his best matches include the following:
- Lleyton Hewitt: US Open 2004 (6-0, 7-6(3), 6-0)
There was once a time when Federer was no match for Lleyton Hewitt. However, in the 2004 US Open, Federer proved that he had come a long way and defeated Hewitt in one of the most one-sided tennis matches of all time.
- Gaston Gaudio: WTF 2005 (6-0, 6-0)
The 2005 WTF was a big win for Federer, but his opponent, Gaston Gaudio, would probably want to erase the outcome of this game from his record. Federer beat Gaudio without breaking too much sweat.
- Andy Roddick: Wimbledon 2005 (6-2, 7-6(2), 6-4)
At the 2005 Wimbledon, Roddick looked like he had a good chance of winning the finals. But, lo and behold, Federer was there to squash his hopes of becoming the champion.
- Jonas Bjorkman: Wimbledon 2006 (6-2, 6-0, 6-2)
Bjorkman surprised tennis fans when he advanced to the 2006 Wimbledon semifinals. Many were worried about what would become of his match against Federer. However, the latter proved why he became #1 in the world rankings.
- James Blake: WTF 2006 (6-0, 6-3, 6-4)
Federer executes a strong backhand, and it showed during his match against James Blake at the 2006 WTF. Blake was a surprised contender in the finals, but Federer had no intention of letting him win in the end.
- Rafael Nadal: WTF 2007 (6-1, 6-4)
Nadal is possibly Federer’s greatest rival. Notably, the former always gave the latter a hard time in their matches. However, in their 2007 WTF, Federer put Nadal in his place and showed one of this best plays to the world.
- Andy Roddick: Australian Open 2007
Federer’s match against Andy Roddick at the 2007 Australian Open might be his best game yet. There’s no doubt that Roddick was in his element during the match, but Federer clearly had the upper hand. Federer crushed the game and beat Roddick with a powerful display of skills. He also won the tournament without a set lost.
- David Ferrer: WTF 2007 (6-2, 6-3, 6-2)
The year 2007 was a highlight in David Ferrer’s career. He managed to beat legends like Nadal and Djokovic in that year. However, Federer broke his winning streak by beating Ferrer at the 2007 WTF.
- Juan Martin del Potro: Australian Open 2009 (6-3, 6-0, 6-0)
Once there was a player named Juan Martin del Potro. He battled Federer at 2009 Australian Open, but the Argentine player bent the knee to the Swiss legend.
- Novak Djokovic: WTF 2010 (6-1, 6-4)
Prior to the 2010 WTF, Djokovic beat Federer at the US Open semis. However, Federer was out for revenge and eliminated Djokovic from the games.
A BRIEF DOWNFALL
Federer achieved success and built a stellar career. However, his rise to fame was not without consequences. In 2016, Federer suffered from a knee injury that forced him to undergo arthroscopic knee surgery. His injury was a torn meniscus that he incurred after his match (which he lost) with Djokovic at the 2016 Australian Open semifinals.
As a result of his injury, Federer had to withdraw from the World Tennis Tournament and Dubai Championships. His absence left the question of how and what will happen when he comes back to play tennis again.
In 2019, Federer suffered another injury, which affected his shoulder. The injury affected his match against Grigor Dimitrov. Federer finished the game, but he sought treatment before the fifth set to alleviate the pain in his shoulder. Dimitrov expectedly won the match.
RISING FROM THE ASHES LIKE A PHOENIX; OR IS IT A HOAX
Of course, tennis fans would welcome if their favorite player returns to play after an injury. And Federer is no exemption for sure. Furthermore, a lot of people will be glad to see the world’s #1 rise in the rankings again. However, what if from a period of slump, an injured tennis player returns like a completely revamped being?
After his knee injury, all eyes were on Federer upon his return. He reclaimed his greatness but with a performance that might just be too good to be true for some people. His knee injury was a serious matter, and he, himself, realizes that his knee might not be the same again. But defying all odds, he still won tournaments after his injury and is still currently actively playing in tournaments.
Although people should only be glad that he can still play, some critics sense something off about his perfectly consistent wins after his injury. And yes, there is one thing that keeps popping up in their minds: doping.
So, is Federer doping? Well, he passed a number of drug test, that’s for sure. Still, the doping controversy remains a big issue in a number of sports, and tennis is not excluded. Thus, whether Federer is really doping would forever remain a mystery unless the doping problem in sports gets resolved completely.
On the other hand, Federer was already a great player to begin with, so isn’t his stellar performance after his knee injury a product of dedicated and intense training, skills, and talent? That might be true, but he is playing at the same level or better than when he was in his 20s. Others noted how his gameplay just became greater than ever after he recovered from his injury. It sounds like almost a miracle right? Those with keener eyes also noticed his unwavering stamina. Such endurance is understandable, but how can a person not look tired after playing in the court for almost 5 hours? Where was Federer’s energy coming from during his lengthy post-injury games? Furthermore, isn’t it weird that his fortitude trumps that of other younger players? With these subtle hints, one could say that Federer has undergone a complete upgrade.
Now, assuming that this “upgrade” is some sort of dope will not be too far-fetched. Remember Sharapova? What if Federer is a red-tape case and just a ticking bomb of controversy waiting to happen? Tennis is not just a sport; it is also an entire industry serving as cash cow for a number of people. Thus, if a doping scandal involving prominent players like Federer blows up, the pockets of certain people will surely be hurt. Very. One bad news about one of the world’s greatest tennis players will only bring chaos. If Federer’s name gets tarnished, then the same thing will happen to the other tennis players.
A LEGEND THAT IS FEDERER: IS HIS GREATNESS FOR REAL OR IS IT LIKE AN APPLE WITH A ROTTEN CORE
In short, Federer is great player and is surely one of the best. He has the skill, talent, and the brain to win tennis tournaments. However, Federer is also a human and is thus subject to limitations. He worked long and hard to reach the peak of his career, and he really deserves the recognition. Still, some of his post-injury games caught attention not only because of the scores but how he survived and won the matches smoothly. Yes, doping may just boil down to speculations, but there is no denying it: Federer’s performance can be highly unbelievable at times and being in good condition or feeling lucky hardly counts as a solid reason. To put it bluntly, doping is a problem in a number of sports, and athletes, at least some of them, take performance-enhancing drugs. Sure, athletes take drug tests, and even Federer has been subjected to several, but the test system is flawed. It is uncertain how many doping athletes have passed the drug test, and that can be a real problem especially when there are people who are willing to cover up the issue just to protect their money. Hopefully, the internal system among tennis organizations will be revamped to address the doping problem still existing among athletes of various sports. It is a long shot, but who knows what can happen in the future, specifically to Federer. Lastly, we are all hoping that Federer is just a really excellent and skilled player.