What a great class! At 36 years and 6 months, Roger Federer has written a new page in the history of tennis by becoming the oldest player to be crowned world number 1 Friday in Rotterdam.
More than five years that he waited for this and he is again master of the world. The Swiss had only to climb to the semi-finals of the tournament in Rotterdam to steal this record from another great tennis player, Andre Agassi. The American had reached the top of the ATP Ranking in 2003, at the age of 33.
In front of local star Robin Haase of the Netherlands, 42nd in the world, Federer has probably played the most stressful quarterfinal of his career, his face closed. But, after three sets and a little over an hour of play (4-6, 6-1, 6-1), he flew again in the exceptional dimension of records.
Just like January 28 in Melbourne, where he raised to 20 the record of Grand Slam trophies, he let himself go to many emotions. After greeting his opponent and then the audience, he went to sit in his chair and put his head in his hands to cry. He wiped his tears to show an emotional smile.
“To be world No. 1 is the ultimate achievement in our sport. It’s crazy. It’s a dream come true, “said the player.
A five-year quest
Federer has pursued this quest for more than five years, without ever giving up, with stubbornness and passion of the young beginner to dislodge brilliant disruptive such as Andy Murray and Novak Djokovic. But especially his oldest rival, Rafael Nadal.
The task was difficult and many observers no longer believed, especially since in 2016, the maestro stopped six months to treat his back. And yet! In 2017, he won his 18th major at the Australian Open and above all his eighth record at Wimbledon.
And the place of world number 1 then? Nadal, again and again, does not leave this pleasure to Federer.
But the Swiss have never lost sight of their goal and injury to Nadal’s thigh injury is the opportunity. Federer shook his plans to travel to the Netherlands and become world number 1, a position he had won for the first time in his career, 15 years ago, in 2003.
A longevity that commands admiration and is explained by his talent, his tenacity, a physical preparation tailored to 18 years by Pierre Paganini and a true love of the game.
Mirka in the shadow
But this long success story is also that of his wife, Mirka, with whom he had twins in 2009 and twins in 2014.
This former tennis player, whom he met at the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games, is always at her side. Roger Federer continues to praise him.
“My wife has been with me day after day around the world. She helped me a lot as a person. I grew up with him. I became calmer thanks to her. She has always been a real support. I owe him a lot, “he said.
Present on the vast majority of tournaments, she supports her husband but especially, it is she who manages the public figure.
His influence seems considerable. A temperamental young adult – he often broke his rackets of anger – he has become a true gentleman over the years.
Since the meeting with Mirka, he has definitely stopped dying his hair platinum blonde and gave up long hair back duvet on the back!
From now on, he embodies elegance. A real symbol that has seduced luxury brands for its greatest happiness. According to Forbes magazine, last year he was the fourth highest paid athlete with $64 million.
Roger Federer can fully enjoy this return to the top. But that could only be short-lived. Nadal returns in the game in principle to Acapulco (February 26-March 3) with the firm intention to become the king again.