Roger Federer from start to today. In this new column, we will explore the Swiss Maestro's career, focusing our analysis in several stages not only on his victories and his records, but also on anecdotes, events that happened behind the scenes, and curiosities.
In short, the genesis of a champion. Federer reached the Australian Open 2008 with some health problems. Only in March that year, would he discover that the problem stemmed from a slight form of mononucleosis. In Melbourne, he reached the semifinal, where he was defeated by the young future winner of the tournament, Novak Djokovic.
After years of domination, Roger experienced his first real period of crisis. This depended on many factors: mononucleosis, which at the beginning of the season conditioned his athletic shape, but also by the contemporary victories of Rafael Nadal, who defeated Federer already in Monte Carlo and Hamburg, and increasingly threatening towards Roger's reign.
He won his first title only at the end of April, in Estoril, then losing another challenge with Nadal, the final of the French Open. After the victory in Halle, Federer and Nadal had a showdown in the 2008 Wimbledon final.
In an epic and unforgettable match, Nadal defeated Federer in five sets, winning for the first time on the All England Club lawns. Federer, in tears, lost the kingdom and a few weeks later the first place of the ATP Ranking.
At the Beijing Olympics, he won the gold medal in doubles with Stan Wawrinka, and a few weeks later he won his fifth US Open against Andy Murray. His 2008 was an almost normal year, where he won a total of 4 titles and a Slam, after years of domination.
2009 began with the fifth consecutive defeat against Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final. A few months later, Roger defeated his rival in the Madrid Open final. But the real joy, for the Swiss, came between May and July.
At the French Open 2009, after two incredible wins against Tommy Haas and Juan Martin del Potro, Federer reached the final, where he played against Robin Soderling. The Swede stunned Nadal in the fourth round. In the Final Federer won his first and only Roland Garros title, completing the Career Grand Slam and reaching Pete Sampras' 14 Slams.
“No, I don't think that was the most important victory. If I hadn't won my first Wimbledon in 2003, the cycle wouldn't have even started. Winning my first trophy at Wimbledon was a dream come true. From that moment on I thought I could beat anyone and win any tournament.
It is a very important moment in a player's career, a bit like (Alexander) Zverev and (Stefanos) Tsitsipas who win the ATP Finals. That's why I'd probably put my first triumph at Wimbledon before everyone else," said the Swiss in a recent interview.
Only a few weeks later Roger won his 6th Wimbledon by beating Andy Roddick in the final and overcoming the 14 Majors of Sampras: Roger Federer became the new Slam record holder. In September he played the final of the US Open, losing unexpectedly against Juan Martin del Potro, but 2009 was an unforgettable season: "In 2009, winning Roland Garros and Wimbledon I broke the Sampras' record.
At that time I had won everything and I could stop. It was a legitimate question. But it doesn't worry me. I see myself as a totally normal person who is sometimes approached by some people who know who you are, who recognize you, who ask you for autographs or who tell you that they follow you for 10-20 years or that you are strong.
This excites me and reminds me that in my career I have achieved all this. In everyday life I am different. A normal man of Basel. A father and a husband, a son for my parents: the man I am, and not the tennis player, is the way I am," said Federer, a few years later.