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Thursday, November 12, 2009

Edition 1: My favorite Sportsman

Roger Federer (pronounced /ˈrɒdʒər ˈfɛdərər/[1]; born August 8, 1981) is a Swiss tennis professional, ranked World No. 1 since February 2, 2004, for a record 221 consecutive weeks.[2] Many tennis critics, past legends of the game, and his own peers consider him as having the potential to be the greatest player in history.[3] In 2008, he was named Laureus World Sportsman of the Year for a record fourth consecutive time.[4]
Federer has won twelve Grand Slam singles titles (three Australian Open, five Wimbledon, four US Open), four Tennis Masters Cup titles, and fourteen ATP Masters Series titles. In addition to this, he holds many records in the game, including having appeared in ten consecutive Grand Slam men's singles finals (2005 Wimbledon Championships through to 2007 U.S. Open).
[edit] Personal life
Roger Federer was born in Basel, Switzerland,[5] to Swiss-German Robert Federer and South African Lynette Federer. He grew up in suburban Münchenstein, ten minutes from Basel and close to the borders with France and Germany. As a boy, Federer was very emotional and was kicked off practice courts occasionally.[citation needed] Federer was also a talented football player[citation needed]. He had considered becoming a professional football player but instead decided to pursue tennis. He continues to support FC Basel, his hometown club and is a fan of Italian club AS Roma.[6][7] When he was younger, he liked to watch Marcelo Ríos in action.[8] Federer especially liked Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg and Marcelo Rios and has cited them as idols.[5]
Federer currently resides in Oberwil, Switzerland and is dating former WTA player and Slovakia-born Miroslava Vavrinec (Mirka), who retired from tennis in 2002 after a foot injury. The two met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics. Federer launched a fragrance called RF Cosmetics in October 2003.[9] He considers Swiss German his first language, but also speaks German, French, and English fluently[6] and conducts press conferences in all three. His favorite vacation spots are Dubai, the Maldives and the Swiss mountains.[6] [10] He is also a good friend of golf superstar Tiger Woods. Federer is Roman Catholic, and met Pope Benedict XVI while playing the Rome Masters in 2006.[11]
Roger Federer is highly involved in various charities. He established the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003 to help disadvantaged people and to promote sports to young people. He was appointed a Goodwill Ambassador of UNICEF from 2006. Since then, he has visited Tamil Nadu, one of the worst tsunami-affected areas in India, and South Africa. He has also appeared in UNICEF public messages to raise public awareness of AIDS.
[edit] Tennis career
Federer started playing tennis at the age of six.[12] He began participating in group lessons at the age of nine and began weekly private coaching when he was ten. He also played football until the age of twelve when he decided to focus solely on tennis.[13] At fourteen, he became the national champion of all groups in Switzerland and was chosen to train at the Swiss National Tennis Center in Ecublens. He joined the ITF junior tennis circuit in July 1996.[14] In 1998, his final year as a junior, Federer won the junior Wimbledon title and the prestigious year-ending Orange Bowl. He was recognized as the ITF World Junior Tennis champion of the year.[15] In July 1998, Federer joined the ATP tour at Gstaad. The following year he debuted for the Swiss Davis Cup team against Italy and finished the year as the youngest player (for the year) inside ATP's top 100 ranking. In 2000, Federer reached the semifinals at the Sydney Olympics and lost the bronze medal match to Arnaud di Pasquale of France. Federer reached his first final in Marseille which he lost to Marc Rosset and was also the runner-up in Basel. He failed to make an impression at Grand Slams and Masters Series tournaments, and ended the year ranked 29th.(All results and ranking history from ATP)[16]

[edit] Playing style
Federer has a versatile, all-court playing style and can hit all of the fundamental shots with a high degree of proficiency. He is an adept volleyer and an excellent baseliner who can dictate play with precise groundstrokes from both wings. He uses a modified eastern grip for both his forehand and backhand, allowing for either a flat or topspin shot. He hits through his forehand on a straighter plane and finishes his swing wrapped around his back.[49] He also can generate extreme top-spin with the shot, allowing him to open up cross-court angles while still hitting the ball with pace. David Foster Wallace has described the exceptional speed, fluidity and brute force of this forehand motion as "a great liquid whip",[50] while John McEnroe has referred to it as "the greatest shot in our sport" on numerous occasions.[51] Federer plays with a one-handed backhand, and has an excellent slice, and can also fire top-spin winning shots.[50] Federer tends to hit his groundstrokes early, while the ball is still on the rise, much like Andre Agassi did. While this requires excellent reactions and footwork, it means that Federer hits his groundstrokes closer to the net than most of his opponents. This reduces the reaction time of his opponents and allows him to hit the angled winners that are a trademark of his game.[50]
His serve is difficult to read because he tosses the ball in the same spot no matter where he intends to serve it and he turns his back to his opponents during his motion. His first serve is typically around 190 km/h (118 mph).[52] His second serve usually has a heavily kicked delivery. Federer generally serves with placement and precision, but on occasion he will hit a powerful serve to keep his opponents off balance. His footwork, balance, and court coverage are exceptional and he is considered to be one of the fastest movers in the game. Unlike most players who take many small steps when approaching the ball, like Jimmy Connors, Federer takes long fluid strides. He can hit a strong shot on the run or while backpedaling, allowing him to switch from defense to offense. Federer's relaxed, smooth playing style belies his aggressive and opportunistic tactics as he constructs points that allows him to hit winners with his powerful groundstrokes. Federer is capable of performing in high pressure situations, often saving break, set or match points during a match.
[edit] Equipment and apparel
Federer currently plays with a customized Wilson (K) Factor (K)Six-One Tour 90 Racquet,[53] which is characterised by its smaller hitting surface (90 square inch),[53] heavy weight (12.5 oz strung weight),[53] and thin beam (18 mm).[53] Federer strings his racquets at a 53-60 pounds tension (depending on his opponent and surface) with natural gut main strings (Wilson Natural Gut 16 String) and polyester cross strings (Luxilon Big Banger ALU Power Rough 16L String).[54] This allows him to hit balls at higher velocity with less effort but makes consistent accuracy more difficult.[citation needed] Federer also uses string savers to extend the life of the natural gut strings. Federer endorses Wilson tennis racquets and accessories and Nike footwear and apparel (he wears the Nike Air Vapor V and Nike Sphere Pinstripe Polo shirts).[55] For the 2006 championships at Wimbledon, Nike made a jacket that had a crest with three tennis racquets symbolising the three Wimbledon Championships he had won previously. This jacket was also updated for 2007, with four rackets.[56] He also has endorsement deals from various other companies, many of them being Swiss.[57] He also endorses Gillette with French football star Thierry Henry, American golfer Tiger Woods, and Indian cricketer Rahul Dravid.[58]

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