The game of tennis will never be the same.
Not many players had as much of an impact on their respective sport as Roger Federer. That’s why, when the 41-year-old announced his retirement on September 15, it sent shockwaves throughout not just the tennis community, but the entire sports world.
I was too young to watch Federer’s rise to dominance live, as he claimed his first major title at Wimbledon in 2003 when I was just 3 years old.
That being said, I’ve watched all of his key matches. As an avid tennis fan growing up, how could I not be amazed by everything Roger presented? Dazzling displays on the court, hitting shots that other players simply couldn’t dream of, paired with a remarkably stoic personality.
Anyone can win with grace, but Federer did so in defeat as well. There has never been a professional athlete who has handled losing as well as him, which is a stark contrast from today’s youth movement.
As I mentioned earlier, Roger burst onto the scene in 2003 with his victory at Wimbledon. That would kick off a string of dominance that has not been replicated in the men’s game.
Roger Federer is retiring. Farewell to the GOAT.— Sporting Life ⛳️ (@SportingLifeFC) September 15, 2022
A record EIGHT Wimbledon titles since 2003, 20 Grand Slams and billions of fans entertained. pic.twitter.com/P48MOA3oJb
Roger won three of the four Grand Slams in 2004, picking up two more in 2005. Just when we thought he couldn’t reach a higher level of dominance, Federer put together the second-best statistical season of all time in the Open Era.
That year, he won 12 singles titles, boasting a match record of 92-5. Federer was the first man since Rod Laver in 1969 to complete the Grand Slam sweep. It was sheer, undisputed superiority over his competitors.
That dominance continued over the next few years, as Roger kept piling up major titles. In 2009, he surpassed Pete Sampras’ all-time Grand Slam titles record and never looked back.
As the 2010’s crept along, Federer began to slow down. Injuries plagued many of his seasons, but he was still able to win majors on occasion.
2017 was the final year we saw Federer play at the highest level. Statistically, this was his best season since 2007. Roger opened up the campaign with an impressive run at the Australian Open. This concluded with an epic victory over longtime rival and friend Rafael Nadal in the final, which also marked Federer’s 100th career win at the Australian Open.
Roger decided to skip the clay court season, which was the right move considering Nadal’s historic supremacy at the French Open. Federer returned in a big way at Wimbledon, becoming the second man in Open Era history to win the tournament without dropping a set.
Diehard fans were eager to see if this was the kickstart of a career revival for their beloved star. Unfortunately, it was not.
In the end, the only person who could defeat Roger Federer for good was Father Time. Federer put up a few more impressive performances over the next couple of years, but it had become clear that his body was giving out on him.
Fast-forward to present day. It’s Thursday, September 15, and one the greatest players in tennis history just called it a career.
20 total Grand Slam titles for Federer, which is currently third only to Nadal and Novak Djokovic. Despite all of the accolades, the most impressive aspect of Roger’s career may still be how he carried himself on and off the court. In a sport where it’s so easy to throw a temper tantrum or be a poor loser — trust me, I’m speaking from personal experience here — he managed to never lose his composure.
When it’s all said and done, he may not be the greatest of all time, but Roger Federer was the ultimate professional.