How Roger Federer made a stirring statement of style, substance | Tennis News – Times of India
Roger Federer can toy with time – even in a highway chase, where the difference is in microseconds. The roll of the wrist, the flick of a racket. Pausing only to tease. When he winds up his shot there’s some to spare. Federer doesn’t advance, he apparates like those wizards in a Harry Potter-sequence, appearing magically to put racket to ball. Knees bent then straightening into an upright stance as he caresses a backhand that cuts. He was the miracle.
As extensively as RF – tennis player extraordinaire – may be chronicled, it is only spiral binding to the legend. It keeps the narrative together while conserving its entity. The different stages Federer embraced – from corporate boardrooms to education in Africa or even making bold fashion statements – are pathways stirred by the range he pursued on a tennis court.
Remember that military-inspired suit jacket, with three front pockets, carrying the RF insignia in gold. It was 14 summers ago on Wimbledon’s Centre Court. Voted ‘the most stylish man of the decade’ by GQ readers in 2019, ahead of Harry Styles, David Beckham and Justin Bieber among others, he put tennis on stages it wasn’t comfortable tangoing on. “I work very hard,” Federer underlined to the media at Wimbledon, “to make it look easy for you.”
If there’s one thing you watch today, make it this.#LaverCup | @rogerfederer https://t.co/Ks9JqEeR6B
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) 1663977216000
He was smiling, but he wasn’t talking only about tennis. Federer had time for anything and everything tennis, he made it his mission. He espoused every opportunity to take the sport to newer markets, understanding the role of the media.
At Grand Slams he did press in three languages, besides radio and television. In smaller Tour stops, he made time for one-on-one interviews. In these interactions he sparked a curiosity of variegated cultures, asking questions at the end of the interview, even remembering titbits you may have offered the last time round.
It was a magical evening yesterday. Thank you again to all the players and fans who were here to share this moment… https://t.co/q143LNn523
— Roger Federer (@rogerfederer) 1664018187000
In Dubai, about a decade ago, one of India’s numerous player/AITA standoffs, was tossed at him. He hadn’t followed the imbroglio, but he paused the press conference to learn more of the situation, before answering. At the end of the exchange he wanted to know if his reply answered my question.
The father of two sets of twins, aged 13 and eight, Federer didn’t hesitate to put his vulnerability on display. Win or lose. Making crying fashionable. A welcome reaction in the toxic cauldron of male masculinity that sport often morphs into.
“Everything was peRFect. Everything was beautiful.”@RogerFederer relives his final match at #LaverCup. https://t.co/SKzvY0qmp8
— Laver Cup (@LaverCup) 1664112661000
Federer – whose sponsorship portfolio includes clothing label Uniqlo, conglomerates Credit Suisse, Rolex and Lindt among others, topped Forbes’ list of the highest paid athletes in 2020, with $106. 3 million in total earnings.
American teenage sensation Coco Gauff put it succinctly in her farewell note to the 20-time major winner. “Thank you for elevating the game in so many ways on and off the court,” the 18-year-old wrote.
Federer was the first on the ATP Tour to get to No. 20 in the Grand Slam race, a record that has since been overhauled by Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic. He trails the head-to-head match-ups against both of them, but the Swiss also owns records that show more heart than head – he has never retired in a match, and he has played 1526 singles matches. Crown that with his 13 ATP Sportsmanship Awards, voted by his peers, and the picture is complete.
The Swiss, who hasn’t played a competitive match in 14 months, announced his retirement from earlier this month, he paid heed to the signals of his 41-year-old frame. Federer’s body couldn’t outrun the clock, but he had the time and stage to say his piece before bringing down the curtain.
Roger Federer embraces retirement amid tears
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