A year ago I was watching the Wimbledon semifinals. Roger Federer lost a heartbreaking five-setter to Milos Raonic. Federer has his chances, but the champion, in his mid-30’s, didn’t have enough that day. I remember thinking, “Is this it for him? Can he win another major? I don’t want this to be the end. I love this guy.” Today I sat here wondering if it will ever end.
For the last 15 years I’ve watched this man dismantle opponents with more technique and grace than any player to step foot on the court. He is the GOAT. No more debate. I don’t believe anyone will ever top 19 major championships. What he has done at nearly 36-year-old is unbelievable. I know… that word gets used a lot. But if anyone had said Roger would win two slams and five titles after taking half a year off due to injury, they would have thought you were nuts. Don’t sit here and argue Peyton and Brady in their 40’s. Different sport. Different argument.
His GOAT-ness goes beyond the mansion of hardware he’s racked up. It’s in his dedication to his family. He travels with his wife and two sets of twins all over the world. He’s promised he will give all this up the moment they are tired of the traveling. It’s in his charitable work. The Roger Federer Foundation has already raised $600,000 to help provide education to kids in Africa and Switzerland.
It’s in moments like this one.
Most champions can’t consistently live up to the model citizen we all make them out to be. Tiger, Michael Phelps, Lance Armstrong. It’s a pretty tall pedestal we put them on, and the drop-off is even steeper. But throughout his 15 years in the spotlight, Roger has never waivered. That’s why every championship match I sit Jace in front of the tv and tell him about the GOAT. He won’t remember watching Feds make history. But we’ll remind him. He’ll probably roll his eyes the way we do when our parents and grandparents tell us about the days of Hank Aaron and Jackie Robinson.
In a sport that’s had its share of rivalries and trash-talkers, the world fell in love with the Swiss Maestro. Humble and kind with wicked forehand. Gracious in defeat, and even more so in his wins. What you see is what you get. We got a people’s champion. We got the GOAT.
Thank you Feds.