Let me count the ways for this question. Roger Federer is without question the greatest role model and icon tennis has ever had. In fact, I’d go so far to say he’s the best role model in all of sports period – perhaps with LeBron James second.
Roger is widely acclaimed as the greatest tennis player of all time. There are few who would against argue it. But seemingly there must be more to it than just great tennis for his immense popularity. Here’s why I believe Roger Federer is most people’s favorite player.
- Roger has a clean image (family man)
- Roger plays a beautiful tennis game (smooth and accurate)
- Federer is regal, debonair, and charming
- Roger Federer is gracious in victory and defeat (on and off-court)
- The Fed truly loves the game of tennis
- The Swiss Maestro is generous with charitable causes
At only 37, the “Fed” has already reached legendary status with his vast trove of tennis accomplishments. To date, that includes 20 grand slam trophies and so many records that it would fill this entire post up.
The only glitch is that Federer has come up short against Rafael Nadal on clay. Other than that, Federer’s star has shined brighter than any other male tennis player in history.
One coach I know says Federer’s style is like “flowing water”. Surely, Roger has one of the prettiest games of all time, and his one-handed backhand and volleys are absolute strokes of beauty. His game matches his on and off-court persona – class personified.
Federer is one of the most well-tempered athletes of all time. He is esteemed by his peers, the fans, analysts, and even his top rivals. The Swiss Maestro is an extremely likable person and hasn’t made one major publicity mistake in his career.
He always has a smile and is well-groomed and well-spoken. Federer can also speak five languages fluently, which is another reason he endears himself so well to fans around the world.
In an age when many sports stars are mired in controversy, Federer has managed to keep a squeaky-clean image. This has garnered him dozens of endorsement deals with the likes of companies like Rolex, Wilson, Mercedes, and Nike.
A rarity in sports, Federer has been able to maintain a stable family life with his loving wife, Mirka. The marriage has worked out perfectly. Mirka was a former professional tennis player too but quit early on to work as Roger’s manager.
You can see her seated courtside at his every match to support him. The couple now has four children and are as wholesome a family as you can find. Roger has been with Mirka since the beginning of his career.
It seems to me that most male tennis players are one-woman type guys. Federer is no different. He’s been loyal to Mirka since they met and I believe having the stability of her as his wife and manager has allowed him to thrive on court.
This is another reason why Roger Federer is so popular with tennis fans. He’s loyal, devoted to his family and always seems to do the right thing. But on top of that, he’s also the most talented tennis player to ever live.
When it comes to tennis style, perhaps no other player moves and hits the ball as gracefully as Federer. While most other players seem labored in their games, Federer makes tennis look effortless with his adept footwork.
I believe this is one of the reasons for Roger’s longevity. If you watch his footwork, you’ll notice its textbook. He makes the most efficient movements possible, which help to preserve his body.
His footwork, combined with keen anticipation, has allowed him to remain at the pinnacle of the tennis world for nearly the last two decades. Roger’s style is very pleasing to the eye and all his strokes are marvelous to watch.
Roger’s forehand is one of the prettiest strokes in the game. It’s also one of the most lethal. The Swiss Maestro’s serve is classic in style and his volley game is superb.
I love watching Roger come in and knock off volleys. Of course, his one-handed backhand is a shot of beauty too. Especially when he hits it down the line for an outright winner.
Federer is unlike any other player on the tour in the way he conducts himself. He’s had that charm and charisma most of his career, but it’s become more evident upon reaching his 30s.
Some say Roger carries himself like royalty, but without the pomp and arrogance. You can see that in the impeccable way he dresses and how he always appears calm, organized and collected.
Many professional tennis players disdain the press and answer questions simply because they must. But Roger truly loves people and is very gracious with his time to reporters.
I’ve never watched a press conference or post-match interview with Roger and came away feeling like he’s not the greatest guy in the world. He always praises his opponents, thanks to the fans and staff, and is generally very positive.
There’s just something about the way Roger conducts himself at all times that is regal. It’s hard to put your finger on it, but you know it when you see it.
Being gracious in defeat is something expected in professional tennis, but it doesn’t happen all the time. Players scoff at each other, berate officials or blame circumstances for their losses.
While John McEnroe and Jimmy Connors set the bar high for most outrageous behavior on the tennis court, Federer has gone the opposite direction.
Yes, early on in his career, Federer had some tantrums and broke some rackets. But he quickly learned to temper his anger and accept his mistakes and losses with grace. As a result, he’s won the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award several times.
I personally like watching the tantrums of McEnroe but to each their own. I guess I favor players that wear their hearts on their sleeve – like Andre Agassi and even Nadal.
Even though Federer conducts himself with exemplary behavior on the court, he’s no stoic Pete Sampras. The Fed does pump his fist and show emotion when doing well. And that’s perfectly acceptable. I think it pumps the fans up too.
But no matter what happens on the court, Federer is always gracious in victory and defeat. You can see the losses really bother him, but he hides it well. His humbleness in defeat is part of the reason the fans love him, and he knows that.
Throughout his career, Roger has been in very few disputes with the chair umpires and lines people. He almost never shows anger accept to hit a ball hard after a point. I saw him do this in one match and the fans booed a bit.
Sometimes I feel Roger is held to an impossibly high standard by the tennis world, but he’s one of the few athletes (in any sport) who can live up to it. It’s doubtful we’ll ever see the likes of such an accomplished player on and off the court as Roger.
One of the most endearing parts of Roger (at least to me) is his love for the game. You can see he loves tennis more than any other player on the tour. And when you’re one of the best in the world, why would you want to stop?
Yes, he has a family, more commitments than ever before, and his body is aging, but that hasn’t stopped Roger from continuing to compete at the highest levels of the game.
Only a true love of the game has allowed Roger to go on at age 37.
At this point, Roger is the oldest player on tour in the top 100. I personally feel like he’ll play another several years if his body holds up and he can maintain a rank inside the top 10.
Roger is not a self-absorbed person, but he loves the spotlight when on court. He adores the adulation of the fans and loves to put on a great show for them. It’s what he does best in life and loves the most – along with his family.
Roger is also a student of the game and knows all the greats of tennis past. He is particularly fond of Rod Laver and the greats that came before him, like Sampras and McEnroe.
While Roger is acclaimed for his talent and awesome shot-making ability, his on-court intelligence is often understated. Roger knows exactly which strategy to carry out against each opponent he plays.
On many occasions, he’s dazzled us with some of the most brilliant shots the game has ever seen. In my opinion, Roger will always be connected to the game of tennis, even long after his career is over.
Roger is one of the more generous tennis players when it comes to charitable causes. His Roger Federer Foundation has been particularly helpful to children in Southern Africa and Switzerland.
His charity has raised millions of dollars over the last decade. These funds go directly into helping impoverished children in those environments receive an education.
Roger is also charitable with his time, even helping long-time rival Rafael Nadal when he opened his tennis academy in Mallorca, Spain. Federer has also helped a number of people financially that never gets mentioned in the media.
Amongst the many charitable causes that Federer has donated to are the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, Small Steps Project, Elton John AIDs Foundation, and Humpty Dumpty Foundation. There are others as well.
If Roger Federer is your favorite player in tennis, enjoy his game while he’s still on tour. I would personally love to see what he can do at age 40.
At the beginning of Roger’s career, I wasn’t a huge fan. But I’ve been won over and now see the brilliance of his game. His wonderful temperament has also swayed me into becoming a supporter.
I try to watch all Roger’s matches at the major tournaments. If I can’t watch them on TV, I watch highlights on youtube. We’re fortunate to have a player like Roger in tennis.
He’s truly an icon that kids can look up to as a role model. Roger’s the perfect player: grace under fire, elegant in appearance, a family man, generous, kind, and always smiling. What more could you ask for in an athlete and a person?