19 Grand Slams, he’s beaten the best in the business, 2008 Olympic doubles medal – there is clearly nothing left for Roger Federer to achieve on the tennis court. After months of injury and serious fitness concerns, Federer returned to the tennis court with a bang – he beat Rafael Nadal in the 2017 Australian Open final and then won this year’s Wimbledon in style.
But what shaped the illustrious career of the man who rules the tennis circuit like a boss? It was a personal tragedy. Obviously, there’s a lot of hard work that has gone into the making of Roger Federer. But it was that personal tragedy that spurred him towards on-court greatness.
This happened nearly 15 years ago when a wet-behind-the-ears Federer had beaten Pete Sampras in a Wimbledon encounter. Soon after that, Federer got the biggest shock of his life. His Australian coach and best friend Peter Carter died in a car crash in South Africa.
This tragedy altered Federer’s life completely. From being an angry kid on the tennis court who had little or no control over his temper, Federer snowballed into a player who wanted to focus on his career and winning and not be ruled by temper.
The ATP communications manager David Law has observed Federer become a man from a boy. “Peter Carter just kept him on the straight and narrow really and stopped him getting into any trouble,” said Law.
Talking about the Swiss player’s development, he said, “That made Federer grow up incredibly quick because I don’t think he’d ever had to think about mortality before. It stopped him in his tracks and it caused him problems for a long time in terms of dealing with it, dealing with the grief. This is someone he knew well, who he saw everyday, who he travelled everywhere with.”
Further talking about Federer’s relationship with Carter, Law said, “He will never forget the lessons that man (Carter) taught him and it’s a terrible shame he wasn’t alive to see everything Federer’s gone on to win.”