Wizard of the Olympic tennis courts
The Olympic Games occupy a special place in the heart of Roger Federer, who is the most successful men’s tennis player of all time, with 19 Grand Slam victories to go with an Olympic men’s doubles title won with Stan Wawrinka at Beijing 2008, and a Davis Cup title from 2014. Having missed out on Rio 2016 due to injury, he still has hopes of adding another Olympic title to his honours roll in 2020.
The greatest male tennis player of all time
Some refer to him as ‘Fed Express’ (‘FedEx’ for short), others know him as ‘the Swiss Maestro’, but everyone is agreed that Roger Federer is the best male player ever to grace a tennis court. In an era of specialists, Federer is the consummate all-rounder, as comfortable on clay or hard courts as he is on grass, and boasts a style that combines accuracy, power, fluidity and grace, Since his first Wimbledon victory in 2003, he has amassed an incredible sequence of triumphs, including a record 19 Grand Slam victories, 23 consecutive semi-finals in major tournaments, six Masters titles, and, to date, a cumulative total of 302 weeks spent as world number one. He is also the only player to have won two of the Grand Slam events (Wimbledon and the US Open) five times running. Meanwhile, his intense rivalry with Spain’s Rafael Nadal, and since 2011, his duels with Novak Djokovic of Serbia and Great Britain’s Andy Murray, have provided tennis fans with countless unforgettable moments, and a plethora of Grand Slam finals of the highest possible calibre.
Doubles gold in 2008, singles silver in 2012
Federer has always placed special importance on representing Switzerland at the Olympic Games. At the Opening Ceremony of Beijing 2008, his pride at being chosen as his country’s flag-bearer was clear for all to see. And while he suffered disappointment in the singles, knocked out at the quarter-final stage by the USA’s James Blake, there was a golden lining in the doubles, where he and Stanislas Wawrinka defeated Swedish pair Simon Aspelin and Thomas Johansson in the final. Federer’s explosion of emotion after the victory left nobody in any doubt as to just how much winning an Olympic gold meant. The following year, the Swiss finally won his first French Open title to complete a career Grand Slam of all of the major titles.
After winning Wimbledon for the seventh time (a record he shares with the USA’s Pete Sampras) and regaining his place as world No 1 in July 2012, Federer was in confident mood as he returned to scene of his latest Grand Slam triumph for the Olympic tennis tournament. As expected, he reached the final, but then things went against the script, as he was outplayed by local hero, Andy Murray. Gracious in defeat, the Swiss was still delighted with his Olympic silver. However, it also heightened his determination to go one better, and he redesigned his schedule to ensure he peaked in time for Rio 2016.
Bouncing back in style
In December 2014, Federer won the one title missing from his trophy cabinet, the Davis Cup, as Switzerland defeated France 3-1 in the final in Lille (FRA) to win the competition for the first time. In 2015, he continued his fine vein of form, reaching two more Grand Slam finals, Wimbledon and the US Open, each time losing out to Novak Djokovic. Meanwhile, he took his total of victories on the ATP circuit to 88.Unfortunately, Federer’s dreams of playing in Rio and bidding for three gold on three fronts (men’s singles, men’s doubles with Wawrinka and mixed doubles with Martina Hingis) were cut short after Wimbledon 2016, when he suffered a knee injury. However, he has no intention of hanging up his racket any time soon. “I’m more motivated than ever and I intend to put all my efforts into coming back stronger and fitter in 2017, » he promised. Following a six month lay-off, the 35-year-old returned to the court in the Australian Open and went on to win a spectacular five-set final against his old rival Rafael Nadal, to take his Grand Slam title count to 18. He will be 38 by the time Tokyo 2020 comes around, but he has already shown that he has no intention of hanging up his racket any time soon.