Saturday, January 31, 2009


Federer was born in Basel, to Swiss-German Robert Federer and South African Lynette Federer (née Durand).[8] He grew up in suburban Münchenstein, ten minutes from Basel and close to the borders of France and Germany.[9] In addition to tennis, he also played football as a boy and considered becoming a professional footballer before deciding to pursue a career in tennis. He continues to support FC Basel, his hometown club and is a fan of Italian club AS Roma.[10][11] As a youngster, he enjoyed watching Marcelo Ríos in action.[12] He especially liked Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Marcelo Ríos and has cited them as idols.[13]
Federer started playing tennis at the age of six.[14] He began participating in group lessons at the age of nine and began weekly private coaching when he was ten. He also played football until the age of twelve when he decided to focus solely on tennis.[15] At fourteen, he became the national champion of all groups in Switzerland and was chosen to train at the Swiss National Tennis Center in Ecublens. He joined the ITF junior tennis circuit in July 1996.[16] In 1998, his final year as a junior, Federer won the junior Wimbledon title and the prestigious year-ending Orange Bowl. He was recognized as the ITF World Junior Tennis champion of the year
Federer and Nadal have been rivals since 2005, and this rivalry is a significant part of both men's careers:
• They are the only men in the open era who have played each other in 6 Grand Slam finals.[68]
• Their 2008 Wimbledon final has been lauded as the greatest match of all time by many long-time tennis critics.[54][69][70][71]
• Many critics consider their rivalry to be the greatest in tennis history.[71][72][73]
The main reason why Nadal poses difficulty for Federer is because of Nadal's forehand. Nadal plays left-handed and his cross-court forehand shot is always towards Federer's backhand - this is a high percentage play. Because of the amount of topspin that Nadal puts on his forehands, single-backhanders have more difficulty returning the ball compared to double-handers. For this reason, in many of their matches, the same rally occurs in a majority of the points. Nadal continually attacks Federer's single backhand until an unforced error is made. This is most notable in the 2007 and 2008 Roland Garros finals. The same tactic was employed in the 2007 and 2008 Wimbledon finals to great effect.
However, Federer tends to beat Nadal on faster surfaces because a volley-orientated strategy works better. On clay, a volley-orientated strategy is much harder to execute given that the ball travels slower. Despite the advantage clay gives to Nadal, Federer has beaten Nadal on clay before in Hamburg. Whether Federer will beat Nadal in Roland Garros is another question altogether since the clay at Roland Garros causes the ball to bounce slower and higher.
Federer has a versatile, all-court playing style and can hit all of the fundamental shots with a high degree of proficiency. His versatility was epitomised when Jimmy Connors said "In an era of specialists - you're either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist... or you're Roger Federer".[74] He is an adept volleyer and an excellent baseliner who can dictate play with precise groundstrokes from both wings. While there seems to be no definite answer regarding which forehand grip he uses, most agree the grip is between eastern and slightly semi-western. This grip is usually referred to as a "hybrid grip" or "extreme eastern".[citation needed] He can generate extreme top-spin with the forehand, allowing him to open up cross-court angles while still hitting the ball with pace. He keeps his eyes locked on the contact point longer than most players and keeps his head fairly still despite his speed of swing. David Foster Wallace described the exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of this forehand motion as "a great liquid whip",[75] while John McEnroe has referred to it as "the greatest shot in our sport" on numerous occasions.[76] Federer plays with a one-handed backhand, and has an excellent slice, and can also fire top-spin winning shots.[75] Federer tends to hit his groundstrokes early, while the ball is still on the rise, much like Andre Agassi did. While this requires excellent reactions and footwork, it means that Federer hits his groundstrokes closer to the net than most of his opponents. This reduces the reaction time of his opponents and allows him to hit the angled winners that are a trademark of his game.[75]
His serve is difficult to read because he tosses the ball in the same spot no matter where he intends to serve it and he turns his back to his opponents during his motion. His first serve is typically around 190 km/h (However, he is capable of serving at 220km/h).[77] His second serve usually has a heavily kicked delivery. Federer generally serves with placement and precision, but on occasion he will hit a powerful serve to keep his opponents off balance. His footwork, balance, and court coverage are exceptional and he is considered to be one of the fastest movers in the game. Unlike most players who take many small steps when approaching the ball, like Jimmy Connors, Federer takes long fluid strides. He can hit a strong shot on the run or while backpedaling, allowing him to switch from defense to offense. Federer's relaxed, smooth playing style belies his aggressive and opportunistic tactics, as he constructs points which allow him to hit winners with his powerful groundstrokes. Federer is capable of performing in high pressure situations, often saving break, set or even match points during a match.
Federer currently plays with a customized Wilson [K]Six-One Tour Racquet,[78] which is characterised by its smaller hitting surface (customized) (90 square inch),[78] heavy weight (customized)(12.7 oz strung weight),[78] and thin beam (18 mm).[78] Federer strings his racquets at a 53–60 pounds tension (depending on his opponent and surface), although at Wimbledon 2008 he was stringing at around 48 pounds with natural gut main strings (Wilson Natural Gut 16 String) and polyester cross strings (Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 16L String).[79] This allows him to hit balls at higher velocity with less effort but makes consistent accuracy more difficult.[citation needed] Federer also uses string savers to extend the life of the natural gut strings. Federer endorses Wilson tennis racquets and accessories and Nike footwear and apparel (he wears the Nike Air Vapor V and Nike Sphere Pinstripe Polo shirts).[80] For the 2006 championships at Wimbledon, Nike designed a jacket emblazoned with a crest of three tennis racquets symbolizing the three Wimbledon Championships he had previously won. This jacket was updated in preparation for the 2007 Wimbledon Championships, with four racquets. In Wimbledon 2008, Nike even made him a personalized cardigan which exuded stylishness and had the mark of the supreme champion. [81] He now has his own logo, an R and F joined together. He also has endorsement deals from various other companies, many of them being Swiss.[82] He also endorses Gillette and Jura, a Swiss based company.[83]In addition, he has had a long standing endorsement deal with Mercedes.

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