The End of an Era


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On Friday September 23rd, 2022 at 12:24 AM, the ball boy from Basel played his last point ever in professional tennis. With an impressive career of with 20 Grand Slam singles titles and being No. 1 five times, Roger Federer retired at age 41. The well-known Swiss player put down his racket in professional tennis at his last game in the Laver Cup alongside his longtime friend and rival Rafa Nadal. The prominent player was given a big sendoff into a new phase of his life where he will be just as loved, surrounded by his friends and family.

Federer has been playing for over 24 years, starting at 8 years old. In 1995, at 14 years old, Roger was accepted by the National Development Programme of Swiss tennis, where he won two national junior titles and ended the year 1996 as number 86 in Switzerland. But he didn’t stay there for long, because in 1998 after winning the Orange Bowl he took up a new ranking of number 1 in the junior world ranking. Roger continued to soar through the ranks as he flew to new heights in his career and won 3 of the 4 major tournaments; the first since Mats Wilander (1988). Ever since then, Federer had made it known that he would be a part of tennis greatness for a long time. His unmistakable backhand slice cut through the hearts of many tennis fans.

We all have obstacles in our lives and Roger has faced many of those. Roger Federer is a player who is seemingly injury-free but that isn’t true. It started from a foot injury in 2007 to a back injury in 2008 that forced him to retire from a tournament for the first time in his career. He continues to struggle with his back for the next couple of years before he catches a break. Or does he? In 2016 he tore his meniscus for which he goes through multiple arthroscopic surgeries in effort to repair his knee. Nonetheless, his injuries stayed with him throughout his career and never went away completely. Whether it was physical, emotional, or mental Feder got through it and was able to pick up his racket.

Try as they might, no one can replicate his gracefulness on the court. Federer was the Van Gogh of tennis, someone whose strokes gave the game faultless, inexpressible beauty. He defied the laws of physics as he floated around the court hardly making a sound.  Roger’s movement in his prime was unsurpassed and what my dad refers to as a “ballet.” He glided silently to his target,  the quietest feet you ever heard. Astonishing us with an unhuman athleticism. While others grunted, smashed their rackets and slapped balls with reckless behavior, Federer was there to remind us of the beauty, class, and respect of tennis that shouldn’t be compromised. Every so often a person comes along and becomes a role model for others And Roger was one of these people. Even though this Friday was a bittersweet ending of an era for tennis, I believe Dr. Seuss sums this moment up for tennis fans all over: “Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.”