Farewell, Federer! Reliving the Career of a Legend

Aryan Kumar ’25 in Sports | September 30, 2022

“We’ll be seeing him again” were the words spoken in the spring of 1998 about a young but promising rookie named Roger Federer. Even though the potential of this junior could be seen back then, it is hard to believe that anyone could have foreseen all of what he was able to accomplish throughout his career. We saw him win 20 Grand Slams and make it to the finals of 11 other Grand Slams. We saw him win 28 Masters 1000 titles and countless other tournaments (winning 103 titles in total). We also saw him reach number one in the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) rankings for an unbelievable 237 consecutive weeks (totalling 310 weeks as number one throughout his entire career). Although these numbers seem colossal, they are not the reason he is considered to be one of the greatest ambassadors to the sport of tennis—the story behind these numbers is. 
The hype around Roger Federer first spread in 2001, after he ended Pete Sampras’s 31-match winning streak at the Wimbledon. In 2003, he finally won his first Grand Slam, beating his soon-to-be rival Andy Roddick along the way. In the following four years, he proved he was more than just a one-time wonder by putting himself in 13 out of the 16 Grand Slam finals played. 2009 was when people truly started to consider him an all-time great as he finally broke Pete Sampras's record. With his elegant yet aggressive style of playing, he went on to achieve many more great wins, in which his struggles and triumphs were felt by all.
Although his on-court successes were mind-boggling, it was Federer’s off-court actions that put him above others in the hearts of many. Known to be cordial, humorous, and kind, it’s no surprise that he has won ATP's Fan’s Favorite Award every year since 2003. Not only is he an amazing role model for tennis fans all over the world, he is also a great philanthropist. He started the Roger Federer Foundation, an organization that focuses on helping educational projects in Switzerland and South Africa, his countries of origin . According to an article from the ATP website published by Arthur Kapetanakis, “Nearly two million children have benefitted from the foundation's programmes, with $70.5 million spent towards initiatives at 9,300 primary schools and preschools” He was also named UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador in 2006 and received the Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award in 2006 and 2013. His philosophy when it comes to philanthropy is simple, as he says, “It's nice to be important, but it's more important to be nice.”
This is all so relevant now, as the Swiss legend finally posted an announcement on September 15 on Instagram delivering the message that his last match would be a doubles match, with his long-time rival and great friend Rafael Nadal as his partner. At 41, he calls his journey through tennis “a perfect journey” that he would repeat without any hesitation. While many tennis fans wish he would repeat the journey, it is important to remember the saying by Dr. Seuss: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”