Roger Federer: The unstoppable force who took the sport by storm

The Swiss maestro broke multiple records with his stylish demeanour to change the way tennis was played.

Roger Federer in Doha; Credit: Roger Federer Instagram page

Elegance, style and class are the three best words to describe Roger Federer’s on-field persona. The Swiss master has changed the complexion of the game with his ruthless dominance filled with beautiful strokeplay. As Federer ruled the world, he made tennis look easy. His record 20 Grand Slam titles was not the only achievement of his career. It was his elegant style of play, out-of-the-world return shots and his deadly serves made many fall in love with the game.

The professional manner in which Federer conducts himself on and off the field makes him the perfect role model to budding young players. He lets his racket do the talking as the Swiss legend treats his opponents and chair umpire with nothing but respect. It is hard to believe that Federer had difficulties in controlling his temper at the nascent stage of his career. But he has come a long way in overcoming those issues to serve as a good example for the other players.

Federer’s rise to dominance

In 1999, he broke into the top 100 rankings. But Roger had to wait for two more years to win his first singles title at the 2001 Milan Indoor tournament. When Federer was finding his feet, it was the time of Pete Sampras and Andre Agassi. Sampras, in particular, was at cloud nine, winning everything possible. His worldly dominance took his first blow when he came up stuck against the Swiss Maestro.

Federer might have gained the spotlight following his quarterfinal run at the French Open in 2001. But his major breakthrough came at that year’s Wimbledon. The 19-year-old Federer stunned the all-time Grand Slam leader and the four-time defending champion Pete Sampras to reach the quarterfinals.

It was the moment that announced Roger’s international arrival. Being regarded the next big thing in the sport, Federer lived up to his expectations. After losing the 2002 Miami Masters against Agassi, his maiden Master Series victory came later in the year at the Hamburg Masters over Marat Safin on clay. It was this win which put him in top 10 for the first time.

A year later, Federer overcome Mark Philippoussis in the final to secure his first Grand Slam singles title at Wimbledon in 2003. It was 2004 when he attained the legendary status, winning three slams – Australian Open, Wimbledon and US Open. In 2009, he finally got his hands on the French Open title. Later that year, Federer surpassed Pete Sampras’s record of 14 Grand Slam men’s singles titles, winning the Wimbledon crown.

Federer’s renaissance at the majors

After the 2012 Wimbledon victory, Roger underwent a lean spell. He did not win a Grand Slam for over four years. To make things worse, Federer opted out of the second half of 2016 season to recover from his knee injury. It was his first season since 2000 that Federer failed to win a title and also dropped out of top ten for the first time in fourteen years.

With series of injuries and an unexpected Grand Slam drought made many believe that Federer’s time was up in tennis. But the Swiss maestro had other plans. Ranked outside the top ten going into the Australian Open, Federer reached the final against all odds. He got past his nemesis Rafael Nadal in a five set thriller to win the trophy.

Federer’s first Grand Slam victory over Nadal outside the grass courts announced his reemergence at the top level. He won the Wimbledon again in the same year and the Australian Open the next year to become the first male player to bag 20 Slam titles.

After winning everything possible from the game, Roger could have easily given up anytime during his four-and-a-half-year Grand Slam drought. But the Swiss star’s love for the game helped him comeback stronger than before. His utter dominance in his 20s and the late renaissance at mid-30s make the tennis legend a true ambassador of the sport and the greatest of all time.

Karthik Raman

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