Yesterday, Roger Federer won the Australian open, beating Marin Cilic from Croatia, making him the first male player to win 20 grand slam finals.
“Of course winning is an absolute dream come true,” Federer told the crowd while holding the trophy. “The fairytale continues for me after the great year I had last year. It’s incredible.”
Here are 10 facts on Roger Federer:
1. He was born in Basel on 8 August 1981 and features on a special edition stamp issued by the Swiss Post in 2007.
2. His father is from Berneck in the Swiss canton of St. Gallen and his mother from Kempton Park, Gauteng in South Africa. He holds dual Swiss/South African nationality1. Roger’s father, Robert, moved to South Africa in 1970, where he met Roger’s mother Lynette. The couple moved to Switzerland in 1973.
3. He grew up in the Swiss municipalities of Birsfelden, Riehen, and Münchenstein, all in the Basel region. He now lives principally in Bottmingen in the Swiss canton of Basel-Landschaft, according to RTS.
4. His name, Federer, derives from Feder, the German word for feather. According to ancestry.com historically it was the occupational name for a trader in feathers, quill pens, or an upholsterer. It is an uncommon name. According to forebears.co.uk, only 3,409 people bear the name, 61% of which live in Switzerland (423), Germany (706) and the US (937).
5. Roger Federer speaks four languages fluently: Swiss German, Standard German, English and French. His mother speaks English and Swiss German and German are spoken where he grew up. He gained fluency in French after moving to live near Switzerland’s national tennis centre in Ecublens in French-speaking Switzerland. He moved there in 1995 at the age of 14.
6. He started playing tennis when he was 8 years old, although he hit his first ball over the net when he was 3 and a half according to his mother who was quoted in a book by René Stauffer1. Both of his parents are keen tennis players and exposed Roger to the game at a young age. As a child be loved football, a sport he gave up when he was 12 to focus on tennis.
7. He managed to avoid Switzerland’s compulsory military service, according to Le Matin. All Swiss males capable of serving are required to. Those deemed unsuitable are required to pay a special 3% additional tax for 10 years. Federer pays this tax, which amounted to 450,000 francs in 2008.
8. In 2001, Federer bet Pete Sampras at Wimbledon. Sampras had won Wimbledon 7 times. Federer was only 19. Trans World Sport interviewed Federer at his home not long after the win.
9. Roger Federer has won the Australian Open six times (2004, 2006, 2007, 2010, 2017, 2018), the French Open once (2009), Wimbledon eight times (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012, 2017) and the US Open five times (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008). Twenty grand slam titles in total.
10. He can’t play the violin, despite attempting to in this video.