Most people know Swiss tennis ace Roger Federer, who bagged his 20th grand slam at the 2018 Australian Open on Sunday, is one of the greatest tennis players of all time.
And although he’s been a regular guest on our TV screens for many years, there are still a few things you probably didn’t know about one of the most likeable characters in sport.
- Born in 1981 in Basel, Switzerland, Federer speaks Swiss-German, German, English, French, Italian, Swedish. His father, Robert, is Swiss-German; his mother, Lynette (nee Durand), is from South Africa. Accordingly, Roger could have chosen either South Africa or Switzerland as his home country.
- He is married to former Women’s Tennis Association player Mirka Federer. They met while competing for Switzerland in the 2000 Sydney Oympics. Mirka gave birth to identical twin girls Myla Rose and Charlene Riva in 2009, then to identical twin boys Leo and Lenny in 2014.
- He first established himself as a junior at Wimbledon in 1998, where he won the boys’ singles final, and the boys’ doubles with Olivier Rochus. His international breakthrough was in the 2001 Wimbledon championships when, as a 19-year-old, he defeated former world No.1 Pete Sampras.
- His prize money at his first Australian Open win in 2004 was $985,000. In 2018 it was $4 million.
- Jimmy Connors describes him thus: “In an era of specialists, you’re either a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist, or a hard court specialist … or you’re Roger Federer.”
- His prize money is one thing. His endorsements are another. He has 11 deals: Nike, Nationale Suisse, Credit Suisse, Rolex, Lindt, Sunrise, Jura Elektroapparate, Mercedes-Benz, Gillette, Wilson, Moet & Chandon. His total between prize money and endorsements is thought to be between $61 million and $77 million per year.
In 2003 he founded the Roger Federer Foundation which provides education programs for children living in poverty in Africa and Switzerland. He helped victims of Cyclone Katrina. He helped victims of the 2004 tsunami caused by the Indian Ocean earthquake. Then there was the 2010 Haiti earthquake. And the Queensland floods. Many, many more.
- He played soccer until he was 13. Then he dropped it and entered Switzerland’s national tennis training centre at Ecublens. This was his school. At 16 he dropped out of classroom studies and started serious international competition.
- His mother, Lynette, grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she was supreme in track and field, netball and field hockey. His father, Robert, along with his wife, always played tennis. He calls Roger “Rotschi”.
Caroline Wozniacki is a less familiar figure to Australian audiences. While she’s been threatening to win a grand slam for some time, she hasn’t been able to achieve her breakthrough victory until she clinched the Australian Open title.
- Although born in Denmark, her parents are Polish and were professional athletes. Her brother Patrik is a professional soccer player.
- She is the first Danish tennis player to be ranked world No.1.
- She is an avid fan of Liverpool FC in the English Premier League and has been known to wear their trademark red shirt with midfielder Steven Gerrard’s name on the back when warming up.
- During her previous 67 weeks as world No.1 she never won a grand slam.
- After winning the Australian Open she goes back to No.1 for the first time in six years, the longest ever gap in WTA rankings for an individual.
- She is an ambassador for Godiva Chocolate and has her own line called “Sweet Caroline”.
- She shops for clothes every year to donate to a charity dedicated to the homeless people of Miami.
She was once engaged to Northern Irish golfer Rory McIlroy.
- She owns properties in Copenhagen, Monaco, Miami and New York – her favourite city.
- She has been known to train with Novak Djokovic as he lives next door to her property in Monte Carlo.
- She is good friends with Serena Williams, who once criticised her for being ranked No.1 without a grand slam title. Her best friend is fellow Danish doubles partner Malou Ejdesgaard.
- In 2014 she ran the New York Marathon raising over $80,000 for charity.