the last great teacher

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Swiss tennis player Roger Federer leaves after more than a year of inactivity, although with one of the longest and most successful careers in history

Roger Federer is one of the last tennis grandmasters to wield his first wooden racket. The Swiss, a member of a generation very far removed from today’s, grew up with idols like Bjorn Borg or Stefan Edberg and now stands next to guys who have him as a reference.

When Federer was just a Swiss, his performances as a ball boy at the Basel tournaments in 1993, 1994 and 1995 brought him closer to the stars he dreamed of embodying. It was there when he discovered that tennis was to be his life, that no matter how much it cost him, one day, as the winner of the tournament, he would have to congratulate the little children of Basel.

Therefore, an already adolescent Federer did not let anyone stand in the way of his desire. Not even your trusted dentist. In a conservative Switzerland, it was nothing more than madness to devote yourself completely to a sport, without a study cushion. Federer’s dentist asked him what he did for a living: “I’m a tennis player,” the Swiss replied. “But, and nothing else?” replied the doctor. Little Federer never went back to that dentist.

That gesture clearly speaks to the ambition of a tennis player who managed to win 20 Grand Slams, break Pete Sampras’ unimaginable record of 14 Grand Slams along the way, won 103 titles, spent a total of 310 weeks at the top, winning 237 consecutively. he won an Olympic gold and a silver medal and was an ATP master six times, more than anyone in history. His successors at the top, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, two other monsters of the racket, have slowly eroded and surpassed their records, but the Federer legend is immune to numbers.

The Swiss will not be the best, or at least this is supported by the statistics of the most Grand Slams won, the one traditionally used to separate some geniuses from others, but Federer plays in the league of greatness, where his elegance, talent pure and class shine more than in any rival.

Federer is loved wherever he has been. He has been able to agree to entire tennis courts to support him, through simple charisma, without the need to raise his arms to ask for help or make a big fuss. Federer has played at home, even if it was someone else’s house, such as with Andy Murray in London. For the memory, the Wimbledon stands, the most respectful in the world, bordering Novak Djokovic’s booing in the 2019 final, the one the Basel man escaped by two match points, remains the one that could be the great climax to his career and that he left for two poorly played runs.

Federer’s major defeats have also contributed to empathy with the general public. Federer won a lot, yes, but he also lost a lot. He conceded in eleven Grand Slam finals. No one lost anymore and only Djokovic, who still has a Grand, and Ivan Lendl also fell 11 times.

Federer lost, by match point, in a Wimbledon final, two New York semi-finals, a Wimbledon quarter-final and two Masters 1,000 finals. In his total career he lost 54 finals. Nadal and Djokovic, 38 each. Seeing such a human Federer, capable of the best and the worst, has brought him closer to the millions of people who have tried to emulate his tennis on the court.

This weekend will be the last in which Federer’s impossible shots, which go beyond fiction and seem to be effortlessly spewed from the racket, will be tested in an official court. He will do it with Rafael Nadal by his side, his great rival since that first Miami showdown in 2004 and who would be his black beast and nemesis.

It becomes a double play that will bring down the curtain on the career of the one who is certainly not the best, but the one who has everything to become the best. Because Federer, the man for whom tennis was invented, will only be one in history.

Source: La Verdad

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