'When I watch Roger Federer play, I’m in awe', says philanthropist

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'When I watch Roger Federer play, I’m in awe', says philanthropist

Roger Federer has been a source of inspiration for countless celebrities not only for his triumphs on the tennis court, but also for his unique style and his approach to others in everyday life. The Swiss phenomenon played various sports as a child and did not focus on tennis until adolescence.

This aspect, together with the teachings of his parents, played a fundamental role in Federer's success as an athlete. The last appearance of the former world number 1 dates back to a performance with his friend and eternal rival Rafael Nadal in Cape Town, which set a new spectator record for a tennis match.

The event was also attended by the magnate and philanthropist Bill Gates - co-founder of Microsoft Corporation - who has always been a great admirer of the 20-time Grand Slam champion. In his blog, the American illustrated the qualities that make the 39-year-old from Basel an ideal example for thousands of people.

Bill Gates on Roger Federer

"Here’s the surprising part about Roger Federer’s greatness: As a young kid, he didn’t focus on tennis and didn’t get fancy coaching or strength training," Bill Gates wrote.

"He played a wide range of different sports, including skateboarding, swimming, ping pong, soccer and badminton. He didn’t start playing competitive tennis until he was a teenager. Even then, his parents discouraged him from taking it too seriously, delaying specialization and accumulating a breadth of different experiences.

I learned this from reading a good, myth-debunking book called Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World," Gates added. "The sports journalist David Epstein uses Roger’s experience as his opening example of the underappreciated benefits of delaying specialization and accumulating a breadth of different experiences.

'In a world that increasingly incentivizes, even demands, hyperspecialization,' he writes, 'we … need more Rogers: people who start broad and embrace diverse experiences and perspectives while they progress'

Just before COVID-19 hit, I was paired with Roger Federer in a tournament to benefit children’s education in Africa," Gates wrote. "When I watch Roger play, I’m in awe. As the late novelist David Foster Wallace wrote, he is 'one of those rare, preternatural athletes who appear to be exempt, at least in part, from certain physical laws'"

This year marked the sixth edition of the exhibition series organized by Roger Federer, and took place in Cape Town. Besides Federer, it also featured Rafael Nadal, Bill Gates and Trevor Noah, the host of The Daily Show.