Fed art for comment piece
Fed art for comment piece

Federer: Teen with bad attitude to Mr Perfect

From racquet-smashing enfant terrible with a bad attitude and ill-advised ponytail to universally respected sporting role model and icon, Roger Federer has come a long, long way.

Eighteen years after winning his first title in Milan by beating long-forgotten Frenchman Julien Boutter, Federer became just the second man after Jimmy Connors to win 100 career singles crowns.

Amongst that collection are 20 Grand Slams, 27 Masters and six World Tour Finals.

It's a success story which has brought him $120 million in prize money alone.

Off court, he is the father of two sets of twins, Myla Rose and Charlene Riva and Leo and Lenny with wife Mirka, a former player he met at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney.

But his career and life wasn't always so settled.

"I had a tough time getting my act together out on court, trying to behave properly. For me that was a big deal," he once admitted.

Federer announced himself in the big time when he famously defeated childhood hero Pete Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001.

However, the following year, he was knocked out in the first round. It took a personal tragedy for Federer to press the reset button. Just when he turned 21, his coach and close friend from his formative years Peter Carter was killed in a car crash in South Africa.

From that point on, the multi-lingual Federer committed himself to winning in style, with grace and not engulfed by his inner demons.

- Great rivals -

Born on August 8, 1981 in Basel, to Swiss father Robert and South African mother Lynette, Federer started playing tennis at eight.

He won his first ATP title in Milan in 2001 and has racked up trophies every year since with the exception of 2016 when he shut down his season after a semi-final loss at Wimbledon.

That extended rest, to recover from a knee injury, led to his 2017 renaissance with a refreshed Federer winning his 18th major at the Australian Open.

A record eighth Wimbledon in 2017 was his 19th Slam title with his 20th and most recent coming back in Melbourne last year.

It was after the first of his six Australian Opens in 2004 that Federer claimed the world number one ranking for the first time. In his career, he has been at the top of the pile for a total of 310 weeks.

Federer was also a Davis Cup winner in 2014 and a 2008 Olympic doubles gold medallist with close friend Stan Wawrinka.

With his 38th birthday in August this year, Federer has always insisted he has never set a date for retiring.

"It's just discussions I always have with my wife about the family, about my kids, is everybody happy on tour, are we happy to pack up and go on tour for five, six, seven weeks. Are we willing to do that?," he said after winning Wimbledon in 2017.

"For the time being, it seems like absolutely no problem, which is wonderful."

Rodger Federer of Switzerland poses with the winners trophy
Rodger Federer of Switzerland poses with the winners trophy

100 CLUB


Federer described winning his 100th career title as a "special, magical" achievement but the 37-year-old insists he won't obsess over passing Jimmy Connors' all-time men's record of 109.

Federer reached the landmark with a ruthless 6-4, 6-4 dismantling of Greece's Stefanos Tsitsipas in the Dubai Championship final, his eighth trophy at the Gulf event.

His 100th title comes 18 years after he captured his first in Milan. Federer, the winner of a record 20 Grand Slam titles, said that he's not particularly targeting the 109-mark of Connors.

"A lot of people always ask me about, 'Are you going to go for 109?'", said Federer.

"To answer the question is not easy. Winning five matches in six days or five matches in five days, it takes a different type of fitness.

"You can play a great tournament, play a brutal semi, you get unlucky sometimes with the schedule, whatever it may be.

Federer back in the day
Federer back in the day

He added: "That's why you have to be fit on many fronts: mentally, physically; you have to be able to beat different types of players: beat them all on successive days." Connors, who set his record during his glory years in the 1970s and 1980s, took to Twitter to congratulate the Swiss star.

The Swiss star will have little time to contemplate achieving yet another record with Indian Wells in California, next on the agenda for the first Masters of the season.

"I didn't come here expecting I was going to win, to be quite honest. I hadn't played since Australia," explained Federer who had been defeated by Tsitsipas in the fourth round at the Australian Open in January.

"I'm just happy on all fronts how my game has progressed, how well I played in the final, winning the eighth Dubai title, winning the 100th."





1st title 2001 -- Milan: bt Julien Boutter (FRA) 6-4, 6-7, 6-4

10th title 2003 -- Vienna: bt Carlos Moya (ESP) 6-3, 6-3, 6-3

20th title 2004 -- US Open: bt Lleyton Hewitt (AUS) 6-0, 7-6, 6-0

30th title 2005 -- Wimbledon: bt Andy Roddick (USA) 6-2, 7-6, 6-4

40th title 2006 -- Toronto: bt Richard Gasquet (FRA) 2-6, 6-3, 6-2

50th title 2007 -- Cincinnati: bt James Blake (USA) 6-1, 6-4

60th title 2009 -- Wimbledon: bt Andy Roddick (USA) 5-7, 7-6, 7-6, 3-6, 16-14

70th title 2011 -- ATP World Tour Finals, London: bt Jo-Wilfried Tsonga (FRA) 6-3, 6-7, 6-3

80th title 2014 -- Cincinnati: bt David Ferrer (ESP) 6-3, 1-6, 6-2

90th title 2017 -- Indian Wells: bt Stan Wawrinka (SUI) 6-4, 7-5

100th title 2019 -- Dubai: bt Stefanos Tsitsipas (GRE) 6-4, 6-4





2001: 1,

2002: 3,

2003: 7,

2004: 11,

2005: 11,

2006: 12,

2007: 8,

2008: 4,

2009: 4,

2010: 5,

2011: 4,

2012: 6,

2013: 1,

2014: 5,

2015: 6,

2016: 0,

2017: 7,

2018: 4,

2019: 1





20 Grand Slams:

Australian Open (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018);

French Open (2009);

Wimbledon (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017);

US Open (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008)

ATP Tour Finals: 2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2011 Davis Cup: 2014 Masters:




20 Grand Slam men's singles titles

27 ATP Masters 1000 titles

25 ATP International Series/ATP World Tour 250 series titles

22 ATP International Series Gold/ATP World Tour 500 series titles

6 ATP Tour Finals titles





69 titles on hard courts

18 titles on grass courts

11 titles on clay courts

2 titles on carpet




"Welcome to the 'Triple Digit' tournament victory club @rogerfederer - I've been a bit lonely - glad to have the company." -- Jimmy Connors, the only other man to win 100 titles, ending his career on 109.

"Just watched @rogerfederer win his 100th title and my daughter asked 'how many did you win?' '10' I responded proudly. "How come you only won 10? That's like none." Thanks Roger, for making me look bad in front of my kids. Congrats." -- Former US tour player James Blake

"Congratulations Roger, please play forever." -- WTA player Shelby Rogers

"Hi @rogerfederer, we still remember your words when you came to the inauguration of the Academy in 2017 and you were injured: "Rafa, You've done it a million times, so I can be inspired by the way you made it look so easy when you came back. You came back to the world's top 10, top five, even world No. 1. That's something that I'm going to be thinking about when I come back to the tour in January.

"Today you have won your 100° ??! Amazing! Congratulations!" -- Rafael Nadal Academy

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