Roger Federer retired: “He brought tennis into the living room of those who didn’t watch it”

Roger Federer retired: “He brought tennis into the living room of those who didn’t watch it”

Roger Federer retired: “He brought tennis into the living room of those who didn’t watch it”

The man who retired on Thursday, with 20 Grand Slam titles in his pocket, 103 titles collected or 310 weeks spent at the top of the ATP rankings is an absolute tennis legend. But even Roger Federer, from his advent in 2003 until September 15, will have crossed the boundaries of his sport like no other tennis player before him, except Björn Borg.

After the Swede with the blindfold, if Andre Agassi was a media beast and a star in the first sense of the term, the American did not tick the boxes of the Swiss excellence. As for Pete Sampras, the dominant of the last century – whose record of 14 Grand Slam titles lasted less than expected – he did not like the spotlights, whose light had no effect anyway, not the same range as today.

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The right person at the right time: For more than two decades Roger Federer will have evolved like a fish in water, at ease on and off the pitch. Which allowed him to become the icon we know. The Swiss is not only the or one of the three best players of all time with Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, he is also and above all one of the greatest sportsmen in history. And this is exceptional.

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“It must be said and emphasized that Roger Federer has taken tennis to the top of the greatest sports, because Roger Federer was not only the greatest tennis player of all time at one time, but he was also repeatedly voted among the greatest athletes. of the world, judge Mats Wilander, Eurosport consultant. And this had never happened with players like Björn Borg, Pete Sampras or Rod Laver. Federer not only dominated tennis, he did it his way and before him we didn’t realize it was possible. “

Like a Michael Jordan

Racket in hand, Roger Federer generated a fascination and natural attraction from the audience. Through his elegance, his technique and a form of grace combined with an impossible lightness, he has opened the doors in which tennis – an important sport if ever there was one – had never been swallowed before. Like a Michael Jordan, he gave basketball another dimension in the 90s.

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“The way he played with his racket made us take a look at his footwork. And we realized that this man, looking so easy, could be compared in his athletic qualities to the greatest athletes. of all time like Michael Jordan in basketball, Pelé in football or Nadia Comaneci in gymnastics. No tennis player before Roger Federer had come close to this level “Wilander insists.

It’s as if Pavarotti sang Bob Dylan songs

Swedish speaks consciously: “I won three Grand Slams, plus Cincinnati and Key Biscayne in 1988. I was far from sportsman of the year. In a way, Roger Federer brought our sport into the living room of people who had never seen tennis before. and they started to like it for me it’s as if Pavarotti sang Bob Dylan songs. I see a form of perfection in it. In tennis he is embodied by Roger Federer. “

Wilander, yellow ball lovers and the general public are not the only ones to have been sensitive to the person and charisma of Roger Federer. Federer’s behavior and style, immaculate and global (note: polyglot, the Swiss speaks perfectly German, English and French), have fueled the appetite of luxury sponsors, such as Moet & Chandon, Mercedes-Benz, etc. Lionel Maltese, economist, sums it up in the relationship established between the new retiree and Rolex. “Rolex openly focuses its work on principles such as elegance, authenticity, excellence … Federer didn’t have to force his way of being, he was perfectly aligned with these principles”he told AFP.

When he was delegate manager of the Marseille tournament, Maltese did not hesitate to bet on the young Federer. “In 1999 we put a five-year guarantee on Roger Federer, for about one million euros. He signed these kinds of contracts, he was the one who triggered the guarantee market, which made tournaments want to” have ” . Kind of like Michael Jordan, he was the person to see. “ Like Jordan, he has become a sports icon. And he carried it on in his wake. On Thursday, tennis greeted a court legend. But a simple farewell to the natural and eternal ambassador he has become.

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