No player in the history of tennis has ever created waves like Roger Federer. His epic rivalry with Rafael Nadal may very well be the tennis world’s version of the Kobe/Shaq feud, except with mutual respect. Having held the ATP number one position for a record breaking 237 consecutive weeks, tennis analysts all over the world consider him to be the best tennis player of all time.
Federer was born in Binningen, Switzerland to a Swiss father and South African mother. He achieved fame at an early age, winning both the junior Wimbledon single title and the doubles title with Olivier Rochus. In his last year in the junior league, he was named the ITF Junior Tennis Champion of the Year.
He played in his first professional tournament in 1998 at Gstaad, where he lost to Lucas Arnold Ker in round 32. The first time he got to the finals was the Marseille Open in 2000, although he lost to a fellow Swiss, Marc Rosset.
In 2001, Federer and Hingis won Switzerland the Hopman Cup. His first professional victory was the Milan Indoor in 2001where he defeated Julian Bouter. In the same year, he made his first Grand Slam Quarterfinal in the French Open. He then made a bigger wave by participating in Wimbledon and defeated four year defending champion, Pete Sampras, to make it to the quarterfinal. He won his first Masters Series in 2002 at the Hamburg Masters where he defeated Marat Saffin. That victory made him one of the top ten players for the first time in his professional career.
Federer broke out in 2003 by defeating Mark Philipoussis at Wimbledon for his first Grand Slam title. He won his first and only double Masters Series 1000 with Max Mirnyi. He made it to the finals of nine ATP events that year, winning seven of them. To top off his breakout year, he won the Year-End Tournament by defeating Andre Agassi.
In 2004, Federer won three Grand Slam Titles. The first was at the Australian Open against Mats Wilander. The second was his second Wimbledon crown against Marat Safin. His third was at the US Open against defending champion, Llyeyton Hewitt. He won three ATP Masters 1000 events, and won the Year-End Championship for the second year in a row to finish 2004.
Although Federer did not win the French Open or the Australian Open in 2005, he won his third Wimbledon Crown and the US Open title. He also won four ATP Masters 1000 Series events, but lost the in the Year-End Tournament.
In 2006, Federer won the US Open, the Australian Open, and Wimbledon, but lost the French Open to Rafael Nadal. This was their first meeting in a Grand Slam final although he did make up for his lost by defeating Nadal at Wimbledon. Federer saw a lot more Nadal during 2006 as he lost two out of six ATP Masters Series events to Nadal. He ended the year by winning the Year-End Tournament.
In 2007, Federer won the same Grand Slam titles he did in 2006 but once again lost the French Open to Nadal, although he once again, defeated Nadal for the Wimbledon crown. He only won two ATP Masters Series 1000 events, one 500 event, and the Year-End Tournament.
In 2008, Federer only won a single Grand Slam title at the US Open. He lost Wimbledon and the French Open in the finals to Nadal, who defeated him two more times that year at two 1000 Masters Series events. Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka won the gold medal for doubles in tennis at the Olympics.
In 2009, Federer won the Australian Open and the Wimbledon. He lost to Nadal at the Australian Open and to Juan Martin del Potro in the US open. He finished, by winning fifteen Grand Slam titles, breaking the record fourteen previous held by Pete Sampras.
In 2010, Federer won both the US Open and the Australian open, defeating Andy Murray. He lost in the quarterfinals of the French Open, thus losing his World’s number one player position. He was merely a week away from breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 286 weeks. Note that the World’s ranking and the ATP ranking are separate rankings. A surprise lost at Wimbledon dropped him to number three in World’s for the first time in nearly seven years. Federer finished the year breaking Pete Sampras’ record of 64 ATP titles by winning 65, and defeated Nadal to win the Year-End Title for the fifth time.
Federer is currently playing in the Australian Open. Nadal is also playing for the crown. Will Federer win yet another Grand Slam or will Nadal get revenge for the 2010 Year-End Tournament?