Roger Federer is arguably the most popular and beloved tennis player of all time. The crowd of the stadiums, the millions of followers on social networks and the fans from the living room, are waiting with trepidation for the Swiss Maestro to take the court.
Talent, victories, class and elegance have made him a global commercial brand that goes beyond the boundaries of tennis. Contested by all the major companies, which every year offer him dream millionaire contracts, the Swiss is the most acclaimed and celebrated tennis player in the history of tennis, and the echo of his exploits will be remembered by all generations to follow.
Rafael Nadal enjoys almost as much popularity as his colleague. With more than fifteen million followers he is the most followed tennis player on Twitter. Even the Spaniard, albeit perhaps to a lesser extent, is the testimonial of many famous brands, such as cars, watches and more.
But the fact remains that his great popularity is perhaps due to the reflection of his rivalry with Federer, exalted and praised by the media and fans. Despite being World number 1, Novak Djokovic's popularity is much lower than Federer and Nadal.
The famous journalist Ben Rothenberg agreed that Novak Djokovic's popularity pales in comparison to Roger Federer's.
Rothenberg on Federer and Djokovic
"I don't know where that (Federer's appeal over Novak Djokovic) comes from," Ben Rothenberg said.
"I was at the 2015 US Open final between them and I have never heard a partisan and loud crowd that I heard in favour of Roger Federer. Novak Djokovic won that match but it was the most loud, charged matches I have been at.
I don't think it necessarily comes from the media," Rothenberg added. "I think fans have made that personal preference for themselves. Fans have just gravitated to Federer more. Roger deserves a lot of credit for that," he continued.
"For building this brand and a persona that has appealed to people. It's not effortless, he has worked very hard for that. Novak Djokovic too is not a very unpopular person. It is just hard to compare yourself to Roger Federer, who is probably the most loved tennis champion of all time," Rothenberg concluded.
Federer and Djokovic have faced each other 50 times with Djokovic leading their matchups 27–23. Djokovic leads 13–6 in all finals and 11–6 in Grand Slam matches. These 17 Grand Slam matches are a record, 5 of which were the finals, plus a record 11 semifinals.