After playing professional tennis for 25 years, Roger Federer ended his incredible career at the Laver Cup in September. Federer started playing tennis in the late 80s, with a wooden racquet and white balls instead of regular yellow ones.
Like many other players back then, Roger hit against the wall, garage doors or cupboards, dreaming about competing on the big stage and against rivals from the top. That would all come ten years later, with the young Swiss making incredible progress throughout his junior days and early pro seasons.
Federer became a Major champion in 2003 and world no. 1 six months later, holding the ATP throne for four and a half years. Speaking for the ATP Uncovered presented by Peugeot, Roger recalled his early tennis memories and things he used to do outside the court.
The Swiss collected stickers with players and trophies before becoming a part of the home Basel event, where he debuted against Andre Agassi in 1998.
Roger Federer spoke about his early tennis days.
Like all the other players, Federer had some dark moments in those most challenging moments throughout the years.
He was not always calm and focused, and it would be hard to recognize Roger for his behavior until the end of his teenage years. The Swiss could not keep his temper down right from his first competitive matches in juniors. He was throwing racquets, swearing and having something to say about every point he would lose!
That all changed in the early 00s, and Federer became one of the world's best players and a Major contender. He cracked the top-10 in May 2002 and started his incredible journey at Majors a year later at Wimbledon. Roger established himself as a global sporting icon in the following years.
He became the most famous face of our sport and a holder of many records that had to wait for Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic to break them. "My first memories go back to playing with a wooden racquet. Instead of the neon yellow tennis balls, I started with white tennis balls.
In Switzerland, we used a lot of pressure-less tennis balls as well. I am curious to know how many players of this generation today could say that. I remember playing against the wall and at the cupboards and the garage doors for hours.
I collected a lot of the stickers as well. There was a year at the beginning of the 90s when all the old tennis players were in a book. It was about the tournaments, trophies and players, so I got to know them all. And then eventually, I also became a ball boy in my hometown event in Basel.
I chased the players for autographs, which was not a big deal back then, as the selfie did not exist. Those are my memories really from back then," Roger Federer said.