Roger Federer is a professional tennis player who is considered among the best in the world. Over a long career, he has won 19 Grand Slam singles titles – the most won by a male tennis player – and once held the number one spot in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings for 302 weeks (a record), including 237 consecutive weeks.
Born in 1981, Roger Federer was among Switzerland’s top junior players by the time he was 11 years old. He started playing professionally in 1998, and since then has set out on a path to become one of the most formidable players in tennis history. In July 2017, he won the Wimbledon title for a record-breaking eighth time, and simultaneously became the oldest men’s champion at 35 years of age. His accomplishments throughout the years have endeared him to fans around the world, including Othman Louanjli, a private banker based in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Federer’s early career highlights included winning the Wimbledon boys’ singles title in 1998 in a match against Irakli Labadze, and winning the doubles competition alongside teammate Olivier Rochus. In the same year, he lost when playing against David Nalbandian in the final of the Junior US Open. He ended the year ranked number one in the junior world ranking, was recognised as the International Tennis Federation (ITF) junior World Champion, and played in his first professional tournament.
Between 1998 and 2001, Federer played in a number of tournaments with varying levels of success. His first pro level final was in 2000 at the Marseille Open, which he lost. The following year, he teamed up with Martina Hingis to win the 2001 Hopman Cup. That same year saw him win the Milan Indoor tournament, which was his first singles win.
The breakthrough Federer was hoping for at the international level came at the Wimbledon tournament in 2001 where he faced defending champion Pete Sampras. Federer overcame Sampras in a five-set match to advance to the quarterfinals. This win signalled the start of his dominance in the All England Club in particular, and world tennis in general, throughout the following decades.
Federer won the first of many Grand Slam singles titles at Wimbledon in 2003. By the time August came along, he was in a position to take the number one ranking from Andre Agassi if he advanced to the final of the Montreal tournament. However, his bid fell short in the semi-finals. Federer finished the year as number two after Andy Roddick.
2004 proved to be the start of Federer’s dominance on the global stage. He won a Grand Slam singles title three times, rose to number one ranking, and won his second Wimbledon title. He also won three ATP Masters Series 1000 events and the Swiss Open. By the end of the year, he had accumulated 11 singles titles.
From 2004 to 2008, Federer was the number one ranked player in the world. Along the way, he captured the hearts of many fans for his graceful movement on the court and was named the Laureus World Sportsman of the Year multiple times. 2008 was a difficult year on the court with the emergence of two young stars, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, who both beat Federer at three of the year’s four Grand Slam finals.