Peter Carter: The hand that shaped and changed Federer’s career with his tragic death


On August 1, 2002, Roger Federer He traveled to Toronto (Canada) to prepare for the Masters Series and to recover emotionally from a painful loss in the first round at Wimbledon against Mario Ancic. While walking through the streets of the city, a call changed his life: his former coach, Davis Cup captain and, above all, friend, Peter Carter, died in a traffic accident in South Africa.

Peter Lundgren, the coach he was with at the time, received the death notice from the words of Darren Cahill, Andre Agassi’s coach and he passed it to the teenage Federer. He started running and crying, until he met the Swede at his hotel.

I was broken“, Lundgren recalled in the book “The Master”, written by journalist Christopher Clarey. “This is the first time we have to deal with something like this.”

Carter is a former Australian player who has not had much luck on tour. He did not pass the 170th position in the ranking and his greatest achievement was winning the doubles title with Cahill. However, this meaningless career was important for Federer to discover his talent.

When Carter was still trying to make a living as a tennis player, playing minor tournaments in Europe, he combined his tennis career with team championships at various clubs on the Old Continent. One of them, where it ends up being the deepest, is Basel.

There he found a ten-year-old Federer, whom he influenced in such a way that the Swiss, two decades later, tears up at the memory.. “I hope he’s proud of me,” he tearfully said in an interview with CNN in 2019. This week, at the Laver Cup, his farewell tournament, he also had words for the Australian. “If I’m playing the way I’m playing, it’s because of him.”

Federer is candid about a man who has joined him professionally and culturally, teaching him the history of the Australian game and bringing him closer to the sport he loves. It shaped his backhand, weighted his forehand and helped him control his inner demons.

One of Federer’s most difficult decisions came years after he met Carter in Basel, when he was no longer young and had to make the jump to professional tennis. Two paths are open to him, trust Carter, who has almost no experience with the best, or choose Lundgrenformer top 25 and member of the best Swedish generation in history.

Federer leaned on Lundgren and made Carter the Swiss captain of the Davis Cup so that he could continue to be close to him.. The rejection touched Carter, but it did not interfere with their relationship. In fact, it was Federer and his family, especially with the inspiration of Lynette – the South African mother – who pushed Carter to honeymoon in South Africa.

The tragic accident happened during this trip. Carter was in an SUV with a friend, they swerved to avoid an oncoming van and fell off the bridge. The car flipped onto its roof, killing the two occupants instantly. Carter’s wife, Silvia, who had just recovered from Hodgkin’s lymphoma, was traveling in another car.

Federer, who soon lost in Toronto and Cincinnati, skipped the tournament in Washington to travel to Switzerland to attend his friend’s funeral at a church in downtown Basel.

She did not stop crying during the entire ceremony. It was a turning point for Federerthat until that day, at the age of 21, he had never lost anyone in his life.

Those who know him understand that, as Clarey recounts in his book that was the moment Federer matured. He went from being a kid with irregular talent to perfecting his game to honor Carter’s figure and doesn’t look like a spoiled genius.

Just weeks after his death, Federer took the Swiss team on his back and collected three of the points to eliminate Morocco in Casablanca and qualify for the World Group. She dedicated the victory to Carter and began a rise that led her to win her first Wimbledon in July 2003, to be followed by 19 more Grand Slams.

Federer’s career achievements are not intrinsically linked to the Australian, but if Federer is who he is, it is partly thanks to that coach from Adelaide who ended up, coincidentally, in Basel.

Source: La Verdad


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