There are many whom the world considers as ‘Great‘ and those who are seen as ‘Legends‘ in their respective fields. But very few emulate their greatness outside the sphere of what they’re good at doing. Roger Federer is one such remarkable legend.
Undoubtedly renowned as the greatest tennis player to have ever played the game, Roger Federer is a global ambassador for the sport, for much more than just his genius on the court. Every year, when he plays at the Australian Open, right above where his coach sits, is a couple who always occupies the seats. They are Federer’s diehard fans, and that stems from the fact that they are the parents of his first ever international coach, Peter Carter.
Carter decided to coach Federer from the time he was nine. But unfortunately, in 2002 due to a tragic accident, Carter died in a car accident while he was on holiday with his family. Federer was in shock and deeply affected by it, so much so that it had a huge impact on his life. Carter always believed in Federer’s exceptional ability more than anyone else did, from the very start. He saw rapid growth in him and was the reason behind Federer’s rise to the international stage in no time.
Having lost Peter while climbing the ladder of success, Federer felt indebted to him for everything that Peter did for him to achieve all that greatness. As a way to thank him, every year since 2005, Federer’s team sends the couple an all expense paid trip. This includes first-class air tickets, bookings in the same hotel as Federer, food, winner’s parties and even commiseration parties in Melbourne. They sit in his box during all his games and cheer for him as if he were their son.
While there are many reasons that make Roger Federer the incredible role model and inspiration that he is to millions across the globe, there is that rare quality of humility which he has portrayed on and off the court. This story certainly brought a tear to my eye and elevated my respect for the legend by many folds.
Lastly, with his eighth Wimbledon title on last Sunday, Roger Federer has 19 Grand Slam victories under his belt, the most by any player in tennis history. World No.2 Rafael Nadal, with whom Federer has enjoyed a legendary rivalry, has won 15 titles including 10 French Open victories. At Wimbledon, he stands tall – one title more than Pete Sampras and William Renshaw (who’ve won seven each). But Federer isn’t what Ivan Lendl would’ve called a one-trick pony (‘Grass is for cows,’ Lendl once famously said ). Federer’s feat of reaching 29 Grand Slam finals bears testimony to this. He is also the only one to win three different grand slams at least five times. The sheer weight of career statistics is good enough for Federer to live up to what Boris Becker, the youngest ever Wimbledon champion calls him — the Greatest of All Time (GOAT).