The ease with which Roger Federer approaches his game on court, you could be forgiven for thinking he was born with a racket in his hand. The world number two and 20-time Grand Slam champion is one of the most successful tennis players of all time. He has consistently been winning tournaments every year since 2000 (except for 2016 when he was recovering from a knee injury).
With a record 8 Wimbledon, 6 Australia Open and 5 US Open titles, Federer has defied all odds to reach where he is today. Despite being 36-years-old, he can still keep his decades-younger opponents on their toes with his agility and mechanical focus. His recent win at the Australian Open proves yet again why he deserves a special place in the Tennis Hall of Fame. We find out what makes Roger Federer the MVP of tennis.
Still a marvel
Thirty six years may seem ancient in tennis but Federer is still going strong while many of his rivals have bowed out. With 18 titles in his bag, Roger Federer is not only one of the most talented athletes in the world, but also the most marketable. According to Forbes, since the last 12 years he has been the highest earning tennis player in the world. He has more than decade-plus sponsorship deals with top luxury brands around the world.
It’s no secret that Federer is a dream brand ambassador. According to reports, he nets more than $50 million a year from these deals. A list of uber-luxury brands have him board for endorsements. The latest addition to his portfolio is Barilla pasta netting him an estimated $40 million, according to industry reports. Through the Swiss luxury watchmaker, the Tennis ace earns up to $15 million.
Other brands include Sunrise—Switzerland’s largest private telecommunications operator, Jura Elektroapparate, a high-end Swiss coffee maker, Private Jet charter, NetJets, Nike, Credit Suisse, Moët and Chandon, Mercedes-Benz, Lindt and Wilson Sporting Goods Company. The latter has a limited range of tennis rackets that have been designed in collaboration with Federer. According to their website, ‘Roger worked tirelessly with Wilson designers across the globe to breathe new life into the iconic Pro Staff. Every detail was poured over to create a racket that wants to be held and provides an edge for players bold enough to pick one up.’
A Taste For The Good Life
On the tennis court, he is king. Outside it, he lives no less like one. Federer owns villas in several countries, a private jet that he uses to travel to his games, yachts and a Mercedes Benz SLS AMG Roadster.
In Dubai, his penthouse overlooks the Palm Jumeirah. This location serves as an ideal training base for him to get used to the heat and different weather conditions from his home country.
Apart from Dubai, he owns a Swiss-style Chalet with an in-built tennis court in the Swiss village of Valbella. Another prime property is Federer’s GBP 6.5 million glass house near Lake Zurich. The Residence, as it is called, is a three-storey building located in the Schwyz canton, and boasts floor-to-ceiling windows, stunning views of the Lake, huge balconies and swimming pools.
When it comes to his most prized possession-his rackets, Federer spares no money to ensure he has the best. P1 or Priority One racket service has been stringing rackets for him for a long time. As a matter of fact, Nate Ferguson and Ron Yu—the owners of the company travel with the maestro to string his racket from scratch before he hits the court; this costs Federer more than $40,000 a year.
With endorsement deals close to half a billion and luxury villas across the world, it is no surprise how much Federer is worth. He has won a whopping $108 million in prize money since his first Grand Slam victory in 2003. The total seems inconspicuous when compared to his earnings from appearances and endorsements. Today, Federer is the highest-paid tennis player in the world with an estimated net worth of $320 million.
Federer, The Philanthropist
It’s not about counting Federer’s millions. Since the last 14 years, he has been working to give back to society through his charitable foundation. The Roger Federer Foundation supports more than a dozen educational projects for African children in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and Swiss children at risk of social marginalisation. His foundation has donated $36 million so far to benefit an estimated 850,000 children.
Recently, he also tied up with Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as his doubles partner in a charity match, ‘Match for Africa 5’. The net proceedings from the match were donated to his foundation.
When he's not on the court, Federer is a keen hiker and loves to spend time with is two sets of identical twins - seven-year-old daughters and two-year- old sons. Even though he is showing no signs of slowing down, he sometimes talks about swapping his racket for a TV commentator’s microphone or taking up coaching. For a man who refuses to be written off though, we sure hope retirement is a long time away.
Roger Federer has set many records in his career:
- 20 Grand Slam titles
- 302 weeks as the No. 1 ranked player in the world
- Five years without losing a single match on grass - a record 65 matches
- The only player to win a Masters 1000 title without dropping serve
- In over 1,300 professional matches he has never once retired hurt during a game