Roger Federer’s Retirement Upsets the Tennis World


Pablo Estua Carrillo, Staff Writer

The moment that we’ve all been waiting for has finally come: it is time to say our farewells to one of the greatest to ever have stepped foot on the tennis court. On September 23, Roger Federer played his last match at the Laver Cup in London, England—a doubles match with his career-long rival and friend, Rafael Nadal. Unfortunately, Federer and Nadal didn’t come out victorious, but the ending was nevertheless special and bittersweet for all. During his post-match interview, which took place in front of the entire crowd, Federer couldn’t hold back his tears as he thanked his family, friends, colleagues, and most of all, his fans. There was a feeling of poignancy rippling throughout the stadium as he said his final goodbyes and officially concluded his professional tennis career. 

Federer’s love of the sport first started when he was 12 years old as a ball boy at the Swiss Indoors in his native city, Basel. Even then, he had already recognized his immense talent as he went on to win the Junior Wimbledon in 1998. However, he was reputed to be a sort of hot-head and threw frequent tantrums during his matches. He didn’t fully lose this quality until his former coach, Peter Carter, passed away in a car accident in South Africa. Carter’s death served as a wake-up call for Federer to finally make attempts at keeping his composure. 

Five years later, he commenced his 24-year career at the Swiss Open Gstaad in his home country, Switzerland. He won his first professional match later that year at the Internationaux de Tennis de Toulouse in France. He didn’t reach his first tournament title until after three years when he played at the Milan Indoor. From then on, he entered the prime era of his career and his global fame took off. He attained his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003 in which he defeated Australian player, Mark Philippoussis, in straight sets. In the subsequent year, Federer tripled his success as he won three of the four major competitions: the Australian Open, the Wimbledon, and the US Open. In addition, it was his first year being ranked as world No. 1—a ranking that he maintained for the next four years for a total of 237 consecutive weeks. 

From the overall perspective of his career, Federer has accomplished many various records. He has played more than 1,500 matches and has been victorious in 1,251 of them. With those matches, he contained 20 Grand Slams which places him third and behind his long-time rivals, Rafael Nadal (first) and Novak Djokovic (second), in the category for the most all-time. Out of those twenty titles, seven of them are from Wimbledon in which he shares this record with his childhood idol, Pete Sampras, and William Renshaw. Federer has been ranked world No. 1 for 310 weeks in total. His prize money from all of his competitions equals an impressive $130.6 million. 

Off the court, Federer has created just as big a mark on the world as in his profession. He is a philanthropist and has provided financial aid for people around the globe. He founded the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 with the purpose of changing the lives of underprivileged youth in mainly two countries: South Africa and Switzerland. Through his foundation, he has focused on educational initiatives to improve the situation of almost two million children by utilizing $70.5 million to build thousands of schools. Federer has especially strived to give out aid during crucial and dire times, such as the beginning of the COVID pandemic. During this difficult time, the RF Foundation donated about $1 million to South African families which led to the provision of food for more than 60,000 people. On top of all that, he along with his business partner, Tony Godsick, founded the Laver Cup in 2013. As aforementioned, this was the very tournament that he ended his tennis career in. 

In his personal life, Federer is the husband of Mirka Federer, a tennis player whom he met at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney, Australia. He is the father of four children, two pairs of twins: Myla, Charlene, Leo, and Lenny. The couple first had twin girls in July 2009 and then welcomed twin boys to their family in 2014. At many of his matches, his wife and children have come to support him from the stands—a gesture that he has never ceased to appreciate. 

From his professional tennis career, Roger Federer has made a huge impact on and off the court and has greatly influenced the world in many ways. Not only did he strive to be the best player that he could be, but he also sought to become a role model for thousands of children, especially the underprivileged. He has succeeded in this goal as children around the world idolize him for what he has done. He is also indubitably one of the best and classiest to ever hold a racquet and the tennis world will deeply miss seeing him on the court. Nonetheless, the best wishes are sent to him in any endeavor that he chooses to pursue now.