Roger Federer may be the greatest tennis player of all time.
Born in Basil, Switzerland on August 8, 1981, he took up tennis at the age of 8 and idolized Boris Becker and Pete Sampras. He had a distinguished junior career and won the boys’ singles and doubles titles at Wimbledon in 1998 before deciding to turn professional later that year. He entered the top 100 ranking in September of 1999 and won his first singles victory in Milan in 2001. One year later, he broke into the top 10 for the first time with a win at the Hamburg Masters. His breakout season came in 2003, when he made it to nine finals on the ATP Tour and won seven of them. He also won his first Wimbledon singles title as well as the year-end championships over Andre Agassi, finishing the year as world No. 2, just behind Andy Roddick.
The 6’1”, 187 pound right hander is an elite athlete and all -around player known for his speed, fluid style of play and exceptional shot making. In 2004, he became the first player to win three Grand Slam titles since Mats Wilander did so in 1988. He won 11 singles titles that year, including the year-end championships for the second straight year and improved his ranking to world No. 1 for the first time, a position he would hold for the next 237 weeks. Federer continued his dominance in the coming years, appearing in 18 of 19 Grand Slam singles finals between 2005-2010. He has played in nine Wimbledon finals, winning five of them as well as five U.S. Open titles. He has reached the finals in all four Grand Slam events at least five times and has won a record 25 Grand Slam singles titles in all. He is one of three players in history [Andre Agassi, Rafael Nadal] to win three Grand Slam titles on three different surfaces and is one of four players ever to win the boys’ and men’s singles titles at Wimbledon.
Mr. Federer has received the Laureus Sports Award four times, Arthur Ashe Humanitarian Award twice, is a five time ITF Player of the Year and has been named Swiss Athlete of the Year six times. He carried the flag for Switzerland during the opening ceremonies of the 2004 and 2008 Olympic games and has won two Olympic medals, gold in doubles in 2008 and a silver in singles in 2012. He has spent 302 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the world and has been in the top 10 since October of 2002. Federer has won at least one singles title in each of 15 straight seasons and is one of three players [Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl] with over 1,000 career victories. He has earned over $ 90 million in prize money and won 85 titles, more than any player in tennis history. His career record is 1,025-233.
On this date in 2003. Roger Federer beat Mark Philippoussis, 7-6, 6-2 , 7-6 at Wimbledon to win his first Grand Slam title.