How Did You Become a Fedfan?

I have a few ideas for posts while Roger is not playing, but I will start with an idea Wilfried and Veronica gave me. Wilfried mentioned that he lost interest in tennis after being a passionate follower of the game earlier on. He then explains that he became fascinated by the game again when he discovered my blog posts and the comments from my readers. This is the ultimate compliment to me as a writer, knowing that through my posts someone became interested in the game again. But it is also a big compliment to all the people that leave comments on my blog. When I make a post I don’t mean to sound like whatever I say is fact. I know a lot about tennis, but I am always willing to adjust my views. I don’t think I know everything. The post itself is only half of the blog. The other half is the discussion that takes place afterwards.

This blog belongs just as much to you guys as it belongs to me. Without you this blog would be incomplete. Sometimes when Roger is playing I don’t have time to read all the comments, but whenever I can I like to read it and take part in the discussion. You guys make some great comments and I often hope that people read the comments as well after they read my posts. You add things that I may have left out or even correct me where I was wrong. You also leave interesting links which I appreciate and welcome. Yes, people do click on it. I can see it in my blog stats. So I want to use this opportunity to thank all my readers and especially the ones that comment and take part in the discussion. When I get a comment like the one from Wilfried, saying he ‘adores’ my blog, it gives me a kick and motivates me to do more quality and quantity of posts.

So let me continue with the topic at hand. After Wilfried explained how my blog got him interested in the game again, I felt compelled to explain to him my journey as a tennis fan as well. But I will repeat it here for those who have missed it. Since I was a boy I have dedicated my life to two things: tennis and the meaning of life. I have made great strides in figuring out the meaning of life, but that is a story for another time. For now I will share my tennis journey with you, and in particular my journey as a fan. I played tennis seriously for a large part of my life, but my interest in tennis was first of all as a fan. I’m not sure I would have picked up my first wooden racquet if I did not see tennis on TV first. My first memory of watching tennis was when Boris Becker became the youngest ever male grand slam champion when he won Wimbledon in 1985 at age 17.

I was only 6 years old so I don’t remember much, but it was obviously a big thing back then. From then on I remember watching guys like Becker, Edberg, and Lendl fight it out at Wimbledon. I also remember Wilander, but I don’t think I watched much tennis outside of Wimbledon at the time. As far as I can remember Edberg was my favorite at this time, which is funny since he was Roger’s idol as a child too. He was just a true gentleman and a great sport. You never saw him throw his racquet or express much emotion at all. I liked that and I also loved his one-handed backhand. I also liked the fact that he was so humble. I don’t think there was ever a bigger gentleman in tennis. After this I remember becoming a fan of Sampras. He was a lot like Roger at the start, not doing his great talent justice.

But when he found his game it was clear that he was going places. His rivalry with Courier was awesome at the start because Courier had the upper hand at first. But Sampras was by far the superior talent and after a few telling victories over Courier, Courier burned out. Sampras had gotten the monkey off his back and proceeded to dominate the tennis world unlike anyone before him. Sampras was similar to Edberg in that he didn’t show much emotion on court and also had a one-handed backhand. As a player myself I started with a one-handed backhand. Most guys who play with a one-handed backhand start out with a two hander. But I loved the one hander so much that I just skipped that step and began playing with one hand on the raqcuet on both sides. But at this point I grew tired with Sampras’ domination.

I decided to break the tradition of rooting for the player with the calm exterior and the one-handed backhand, as I became a fan of the underdog Agassi. Agassi was very different from Edberg and Sampras. He was charismatic, flashy, and his game style was totally different as well. It was a refreshing change. I also enjoyed the fact that he was the underdog when facing Sampras. It was a nice change from the boring, dominant Sampras. I loved how talented Agassi was. He had the best returns and ground strokes in the history of the game. It was just so smooth and he took the ball earlier than anyone in the history of the game. His hand-eye coordination was unreal. Watching him on court 1 at Wimbledon was a real treat and you could really get an idea of just how talented he was.

You got the feeling he hit the ball cleanly, early, and with incredible accuracy. Incidentally I saw a young Roger Federer face Xavier Malisse in the second round of Wimbledon the same year. I was impressed with how smooth this guy was and how easy he made the game look. He won the first two sets, but Malisse fought back to a break up in the fifth set. Both players are immensely talented and it was a great match to watch. Malisse lost the plot in the fifth however as victory was beckoning. He had let Roger off the hook. Roger would make the best of his luck as he made his big breakthrough that year, upsetting Sampras in the fourth round. It’s funny because I had the choice between being on center court or court 1 that year for the quarter finals. On center court Henman was playing Roger and Ivanisevic was playing Safin, while on court one Agassi was playing Escude and Rafter was playing Enquist.

Of course I opted for court 1 since Agassi was my favorite player at the time, but thankfully I had already seen Roger live, as that is still the only time I saw him live to this day. After this there were still some good times left as an Agassi fan as he won the Australian Open in 2003. Also in 2003  Roger was of course breaking through at slam level as he won Wimbledon for the first time. I didn’t watch the Wimbledon final that year though. I really got to see just how good Roger was for the first time at the Masters Cup in 2003. I was still an Agassi fan at this point, and Agassi faced Roger in his first round robin match that year. But lets backtrack a little to 2002 where Agassi faced Roger in the final of Miami. I saw this match and I noticed that Roger was starting to come around. Agassi won the match in four sets, but Roger was starting to make headway.

When Agassi faced Roger in the first round robin match of the 2003 Masters Cup he was leading the head-to-head 3-0. He had also beaten Roger easily in the fourth round of the 2001 US Open, and in Basel in 1998 he destroyed Roger in front of his home crowd. Agassi was clearly dominating the head-to-head at that point, but in 2003 he was going to come up against a new Roger who had his first major title behind him. It was gonna be a close encounter, with Roger winning it 9-7 in the third set breaker. That was a big match because Roger obviously gained a lot of confidence from it, butchering the rest of the opposition in straight sets to win his first Masters Cup. In the final he would face Agassi again, and in a devastating display he bageled Agassi 6-3, 6-0, 6-4. That was unlike anything I’ve ever seen in my life.

I mean Agassi had won the Oz Open the same year and was still very much on his game. But in that Masters Cup final he was absolutely destroyed by a freak of a talent. That was really the first time I noticed how good Roger was. Roger owned my favorite player and from then on won the last eight matches between the two to dominate the head-to-head 8-3. I was still an Agassi fan until he retired at the 2006 US Open, but I had also started following Roger. In the 2005 US Open Roger and Agassi would meet for the final time. I was still an Agassi fan but I didn’t mind that Roger won. After this Agassi really started slowing down while Roger was just entering the best season of his career in 2006. I was still playing tennis at this stage myself but I was amazed with how dominant Roger was in 2006. I mean he just wasn’t losing much at all. Whenever he lost it was a shock, an anomaly.

He won the Oz Open and Wimbledon that year, while losing to Nadal in the French Open final. At the US Open Agassi played his final match, and Roger went on to beat Roddick in the final to claim his ninth slam. In 2007 I finished playing tennis myself and at the end of 2008 I started this blog, which is when I really took my own fandom to a new level. I began this blog on the back of Roger’s worst season since he started dominating the sport, so no one can accuse me of being a glory hunter. Roger had just won the US Open in 2008 and I felt like things were taking a turn for the better again. I felt it was an interesting phase in Roger’s career where he would be more vulnerable but where there were many records up for grabs as well. But what I didn’t realize is that I was in for my worst moment as a Fedfan just the next year at the Australian Open.

Nadal has already taken the Wimbledon title from Roger in 2008 as well as the number one year end ranking. I was already down from that, but what happened at the Oz Open the next year was the final straw. It was pure devastation. But fortunately after that Roger went on to win the career grand slam at the French Open and break the all time slam record of Sampras at Wimbledon. Those were the two biggest achievements of Roger as far as I’m concerned and I am glad my blog was around at the time. The circle was really complete, although I wanted Roger to win another slam to prove that beating the slam record was not a fluke. This he did at the 201o Oz Open, and as a fan I had nothing more to ask for. Roger had achieved perfection. Being a Fedfan has really been the ultimate. I don’t see how it can be improved upon.

If Roger retires I may keep following tennis, but I would never take fandom to the same level that I took it with Roger. It doesn’t get any better. From here on being a Fedfan is just a bonus. Just to still have Roger playing and having the odd great result is enough for me at this point. OK that is my journey as a tennis fan. I hope you enjoyed it and I’d like to hear from you now. Let us know how you became a Fedfan. I found Wilfried’s story interesting and I look forward to reading your stories as well!

Roger Federer


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37 Comments

  1. When did i become a Fed Fan, the year 2001, place Wimbledon 4th round, opponent The Legendary Pete Sampras, winner the soon to be Legendary Roger Federer in 5 sets! The rest is history!!!

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  2. i am not a tennis fan but after Roger won the USOpen in 2008, his only slam that season and those were the time when people start to write him off, i automatically become his fan and eventually a fan of the sport. i just love roger and tennis now so much :-)

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  3. I’m loving this blog, good idea. I have been a tennis fan since the sixties, yes, i’m old.I remember noticing Roger in 2002 but was so into Agassi i didn’t pay as much attention as i now wish i should have. I was hooked by 2003. When he beat Agassi it didn’t bother me because his game was like nothing i’d ever seen, i was hooked. When Andre retired i cried for a week but it was ok because there was Roger. The joy, even bliss that Roger has given me is a large part of my life. My grand daughters could say his name as soon as they could speak. Once on serve one of the girls(she was 3)tried to hand Roger a tennis ball into the tv. The last few years have sometimes been painful but thats because i dont want him to hurt. I am so grateful he still wants to play and there are more matches to watch while he wields his magic. I will never have this depth of feeling for another player because he is one of a kind. I love tennis but Roger has spoiled me. I have such a hard time being enthusiastic in semis and finals if Roger isnt playing. I have been trying for several years to really care about other players but its just not there. For me the future may be in some of the younger players who are just breaking through, at least i hope so. Thank you Roger Federer, than

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    Marcus Reply:

    I totally agree with your sentiments…you can appreciate other players, but with Roger, it’s something different…Keep Enjoying, you & your little Ones!!!

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  4. I saw some bits and pieces of tennis matches in the 90s, Agassi and Sampras and the Williams sisters, maybe a little bit of Hingis and Capriati, I don’t really remember.

    But I didn’t really appreciate the sport until I saw Agassi’s last great match, his five-set defeat of Baghdatis at the US Open.

    I had heard several from my tennis-watching friends of the great Roger Federer, but the first Federer match I saw in its entirety was his US Open quarterfinal against Roddick.

    Roddick was playing extremely well, but Federer was always one step ahead of him. He moved Roddick around seemingly at will and smoothly steered the ball into the open court for clean winners, time and again. He made the game look so simple and elegant. It was hypnotic and I wanted to see more.

    When Federer played the final I was already such a fan that I shouted at the TV when Djokovic had set points on his serve in the first set. But somehow Federer managed to break back and win the tiebreak, and eventually he won in straight sets.

    By the time the Wimbledon ’08 final rolled around I was completely hooked. After Federer went down two sets, I was pacing, sweating, muttering, and I didn’t hold out much hope. He defied my expectations by fighting back magnificently to take it to the fifth set. However, he eventually succumbed and I was inconsolable for several days.

    His USO run in 2008 remains one of my favorites (after his grueling campaign to win his first French Open title). With the fans cheering him on like never before, he came through a five-set dogfight against Andreev and beat two of the top young guns, Djokovic and Murray, in the semi and final.

    When he went down two sets to Berdych at AO, I got so worked up that I turned off the TV and went for a walk. But I had a vague intimation that when I returned, they’d be in the fourth set and Federer would be a break up. When I came back, my surmise turned out to be correct and he ended up winning. However, he lost the final to Nadal and I was again sad for days.

    Having seen him lose more often has given me a better understanding of how exceptional Federer is. No one ever set such a high standard and maintained it so consistently for so long. No one ever even dreamt of such a level of dominance until he came along.

    Watching his contemporaries attempt to emulate his consistency (and failing, so far), I have the feeling once he is gone I just don’t see anyone else being able to keep up that level for more than one season.

    He’s the kind of athlete who comes along once or twice in a century. After Federer, there will be tennis players with stylish and imaginative games. There will be players who are nice guys. There will be players with great fighting spirit and champion’s heart. But no one is going to unite all of those things the way Federer does, in one complete package.

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  5. I’ve followed tennis and watched Federer since August 2003. It was the first time I even watched or followed tennis closely. I’m from Canada and tennis has never been popular or meant anything in my country in the past. There was rarely even any tennis coverage at all before then. The most of tennis that I ever saw as a kid was McEnroe tantrums now and then on highlight shows.

    But one day I turned on my TV and I actually saw a live tennis match was actually on. It was a guy named Federer against a guy named Roddick at the 2003 Montreal Masters. Federer’s play was very good and I could tell there was something special about this guy even without much knowledge of tennis. Federer was up a break in the 3rd set but ended up losing the match in a tiebreak. I just thought, “Oh well he was good and should have won but he lost his cool when that fan ran onto the court. I like Federer anyway. Maybe he’ll win next time.”

    Federer started winning everything from that point on and tennis began to be on TV much more, and as the internet developed it was possible to see scores and highlights online even when matches were not shown on TV. I’ve seen all of his grand slam matches and important Masters 1000 matches since 2004 to the present.

    Federer’s most epic match for me was the 2005 Australian Open SF. I remember staying up the entire night glued to my TV in that epic battle to the early hours of the morning when it finally ended. For me that was Federer’s most incredible effort and was the best I have ever seen him play in a slam from past to present. I was not devastated when he lost. It showed his human side to stay alive for so long in the 5th set even when it seemed he was doomed down 5-3 and again down match points on many occasions. He saved something like 7 or 8 match points in that set and I just couldn’t believe the stuff this guy was coming up with to save himself for so long.

    He was playing his true rival in the peak of their primes, before Nadal came along. Safin vs Federer in 2003-2005 were some of the best quality tennis matches I’ve ever seen, and it was free of the mental warfare and bitterness that Nadal and his fans brought to tennis.

    From 2008 and onward it hasn’t been easy seeing Federer lose to Nadal. Before that, in 2007 Federer had a winning record over Nadal – beating him on all surfaces within the same season. Something even Nadal has not done to Federer past or present. It seemed like Federer was going to turn around the head-to-head, but unfortunately Federer got mono and Nadal used this as a springboard to rack up a whole lot of wins over Fed. I agree with you that the 2009 AO loss was the most crushing loss. It’s the one and only loss in which I still haven’t been able to gain back the lost sleep.

    It’s been an incredible run nonetheless and I will always pay attention to Federer, and hope he wins for as long as he’s swinging a racquet.

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  6. I had seen him during the match against Sampras in 2001 but i really became a fan of him during 2003 Wimby tournament, he was one of the most stylish player on court and it was hard to stop admiring his play and the obsession for Fed from there on just increased exponentially… :D

    BTW Ruan, have you tried to do a post which compares Fed with other greats, i know its not fair comparison but it would be fun

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  7. My experience with tennis started with being a fan of Bjorg. I ended that experience when I couldn’t handle another McEnroe tantrum. I vaguely kept an eye on the tennis world. Never really warmed up to Sampras.
    I was playing golf (fan of Tom Watson) and lost track of tennis. Now and again I would hear the sports report and hear Fed won again. I wondered, who is this guy?

    Then, we were out of town for a wedding. My son turned on the tv and there was the Wimbledon Final 2008. I instantly became a Fedfan. I really have no idea why but it was just in an instant. I was so miserable when Fed lost. From that moment on, I followed everything I could. Many ups and downs. I stayed up all night watching AO 2010. I was so nervous through the whole match.

    I too can’t seem to find anyone else I could follow after he retires. I try to like other players but it’s just not the same. What is it about this guy?

    The great part of all of this is I have hooked a lot of people into watching and playing tennis. Two of my kids play now and follow the tour. Other friends and family members follow the tour. My sister can’t wait for the next atp vacation, tennis all day.

    So, Fed has blessed me in too many ways to count. I’ve learned a lot about myself and life just from watching him from afar. Can’t get any better than that.

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  8. Terrific post Ruan. I remember i was about 9 yrs old when i saw a certain red-haired German by the moniker Boom boom shake Wimbledon up by winning it diving all over the court. That was the first time i had seen a tennis match and from then on i was mesmerized by Boris Becker.

    The way he moved, his unique serving motion, his dives and his volleys were copied by me 2000 times everyday when i was alone. I started to play tennis soon after and tried to copy him every time i played. As much as i liked Edberg for his gentle demeanor and incredible volleys I still had my eyes only for Boris. Even when he was down, his body language would be like he ruled the world.

    I went through real agony when Sampras and Agassi started to dominate Boris in the early 90. Boris did get a few back against Sampras and Agassi a bit later towards the end of his career. The retirement of Boris meant i stayed away from watching tennis except Sampras v/s Agassi matches which i relished.

    It was with great relish that i saw Federer beat Sampras in that classic match at Wimbledon but i feared that he may go the Mark Phillipousis way. However, i was so wrong. I had seen him play at the Hopman cup on TV with Martina Hingis and i couldnt believe his movement. Somehow in 2003, his forehand and his serve started to come together and my interest in tennis resumed and my fanatical fan following began. I began to believe he would win all 4 majors in a year but unfortunately i hadnt heard of Nadal. The Nadal – Federer rivalry made my life as a tennis fan exciting but it hurt every time Nadal won. Then i found your blog and it helped to know other ans were feeling the same way when Federer lost.

    It felt like the circle of life when i saw Federer lose to Nadal so frequently in major matches. This is exactly what happened to Boris against Sampras and Agassi but somehow Boris found a way to improve and be strong mentally later in his career. Federer on the other hand cannot believe he is being beaten and seems to be frozen.

    My only hope for Federer is to redeem himself next year and motivate himself to better Djokers 2011. He has never disappointed his fans & i am thankful to your blog to help me gain some perspective.

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  9. ROGER FEDERER!!!! where to start from!!!
    Cricket is what my life was all about till 2003 june.From there on its all tennis and roger federer.I became his fan when saw him play in wimby’03.My tension and nervousness is indescribable about fedal matches.French open is the slam which i like the least just because of rafa dominance.Wimby’08 and AO’09 were the most demoralising defeats from the perspective of a fedfan.Have passionately followed and will keep following roger till the day he retires.
    Roger federer…You are the sunshine of my life :-)

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  10. hey ruan, thx for makin us recall the journey of federer through this post :-) i guess i was probably 13 when i first started rootin for federer, i used to pretty much DISLIKE him all through 2004 coz of some strange reason which i still dunno, it was like i was prepared for a such a fearsome dominance in 1 yr (hu wud have expected federer to give 4 back to back glorious seasons). but 2005 changed my mind n it was the semi of the aussie open dat yr. federer vs safin which in my books will go down as the highest level of play where it was the one and only time JESUSFED lost to the better opponent…it was then i started followin federer’s seasons, i was 14 i guess when i became his fan….since 2005 aussie open semi final to this day, n i think for the rest of my life, he’ll b the best talent the sport has produced…it doesn get any better n it will never get better thn this. prime federer is jst too much talent in one body….even now at the age of 30, he still hits the best shots of the season in the sport. once a federer fan, always a federer fan. :-)

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    vaibhav Reply:

    btw, i envy all the fans who got to c him live :-P i so wish i cud c him play on the sacred grass of wimbledon or anywhere b4 he retires but i guess tht’ll remain a wish unfulfilled…maybe like sampras, after retirin if he plays the champions’ tour, i cud get to c him play. ;-)

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  11. I started watching tennis in the 80s and was a big fan of Becker, Lendl, Edberg. Then came the era of Agassi, Chang, Sampras and Courier – not a big fan but hence went to hiatus between 1996-2006. Came AO2006, it was on accident that I switch on the tv to catch men’s singles final. It almost felt like love at first sight watching Roger playing against Baggy. His strokes are so easy to watch. I am also a sucker for single handed backhand. Only one word to sum up my first impression of him – heavenly. His tears of joy when receiving trophy from Rod Laver stuck me how much this player loved tennis. Since then, the intensity wanting to watch Roger play went overdrive. I will try to catch every match he plays. My prayers were answered when he visited my country to play exho in 2007 against Sampras and 2008 against Blake, McE and Bjorg. I got so crazy wanting to watch Roger in competitive match that I made a trip to watch 2 Grand Slams. Win or lose, I still try to watch him play. I do have my share of frustration with him especially whenever he meets Nadal. Of late its more painful than usual ever since Wimbledon 2010, all those matches at match point. I still have hope he wins another 1-2 GS, my gut tells me he can do it. He has to believe in himself again. I will continue to follow Roger till he retires. The end is near and hope he goes out with a big bang.

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  12. I was a fan of the top 4 but very recently i read something about federer which made me change my views on him. Yesterday only i came to know that federer was just like us- angry and uspet over points until one event that changed him- death of his childhood coach and that was the turnaround point for the cool classy federer: WOW I have deep admiration and respect for this guy-he is just plain awesome.Fed fans if they would want to read what changed me: Anger: Difference between Good (McEnroe,Murray) & Great (Federer,Nadal) http://bit.ly/paCkWk

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  13. The first time I ever saw Roger play was on TV at the 2001 Wimbledon 4th round against Sampras. My dad was watching the match and I was sitting beside him in the living room having nothing much to do. I was 15 at the time.

    I did watch tennis before that, but occasionally whenever someone at home would be watching. I was not interested in tennis by myself at all.

    I knew Sampras was a great player then based on what I’d heard about him. So, Roger winning that match was a big shock to my dad. I myself thought this new guy played well and I liked his style quite a bit – the beautiful one-handed backhand, the calm focused emotionless demeanor, the pony-tail with a girlish smile, that was my first impression of him at that time.

    The next time I watched him again was at the Wimbledon Semi against Roddick in 2003. He played superbly in that match, and I just loved his game even more. I watched the final as well and saw him lift the trophy that day. Again, I still had the same impression of him as described before.

    My uncle had bought me a racquet to play tennis and learn the sport a couple months back. Although I never used to play, after watching that Wimbledon win for Roger, me and my cousin started hitting some balls trying to imitate Roger’s style and his mannerisms. We just loved talking about him. We used to make fun of his ponytail, but also admired his style a lot.

    Since then, I started watching almost every match of his possible and slowly but surely started turning into a fan. I was researching for more info on him online and trying to know what his history was like and stuff.

    He just kept on winning everything in sight. Whenever there were tennis tournaments around, the Monday morning newspapers always had Roger’s photo holding some trophy or the other. I remember people calling him boring and that they stopped watching tennis because they always knew Roger would win. It just kept getting better and better for him and I just could not stop praising him or talking about his game with anyone I met. It was confirmed, I was addicted to his game and personality!!

    Since 2008, I’d want to see him play live and that dream was fulfilled when I watched him at the US Open S/F in 2009, on super-sunday(which was supposed to happen on saturday, but postponed due to, well….rain). I watched him beat Djokovic in the semi, hitting that world famous tweener of his….unimaginable experience that was!!!).

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  14. The great Bjorn Borg was the first champion I admired. Watching him remain calm and cool while JohnnyMac threw tantrum after tantrum made me like him even more. His game was so sleek and controlled, so finely tuned… today I realize what a harbinger he was of the Federer era. After Borg, all my champions had to have that icy demeanor to qualify as a favorite. So naturally I gravitated to Graf and Edberg, but after them, no one captured my imagination until Roger. Sampras’ game bored me, and Agassi was a bit too kookie for my taste, though I did warm up to him after he shaved his head and seemed to take tennis more seriously. When I first saw Roger play, I was simply stunned by his masterful strokes and creamy disposition. He had already won a couple of Majors by then—I think he was going for his second straight Wimbledon when I got hooked. I knew immediately that here was a champion who might just tie Borg’s streak on the hallowed grass. And the rest, as they say, is history…. I doubt very much that another champion like Federer will ever come along again. He is a class act, one of a kind. And when he retires, tennis will lose its greatest champion and ambassador, leaving a void that may never be filled.

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  15. I officially became a Federer fan at Wimbledon 2007, but I first noticed his genius at Wimbledon 2005, where I think he played his greatest grass court match ever against Roddick in the final.

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  16. Scary thunder and lightening where i am. Unplugged the computer to be safe and then came to see the new comments. I’m loving everyones stories. Great idea Ruan.

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    Veronica Lee Reply:

    Scary thunder, lightning, rain or shine, hurricane or tsunami,I don’t care; my computer is on this blog permanently; I echo Susan’s sentiments a thousand times; Just love love love the stories of everyone here!

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  17. Ironically, the first watch I saw of Roger’s was that one he lost. AO 2005 semifinal to Safin. I was 15 and that was around when I began watching tennis. Even though he lost, there was just SOMETHING about him that I instantly fell for. And the rest, as they say, is history ;-)

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  18. This is my second post here,although I’m fan of your blog 2 years now and in my first one i did say that you almost write exactly what i feel,just I’m not native English speaker so it’s kind of hard to express myself same as you do,even had same idols as you.I played professional football myself but started to be fun of Federer after that match when he did beat Sampras in 2001,first i was not really happy than some Swiss player beat my favorite player up till then,but there was something special about Roger’s game back then which i could not stop thinking about and never actually stopped.It was the grace and smoothness which he brought to tennis courts.From then on i became kind of obsessed…My wife,even my boss always joking that ,,my boyfriend,, is playing when is due to play cause i never stop speaking about him,people believe me or not i have seen 99% of his matches since 2003,sometimes where there is TV on holiday with tennis channel on,i would watch it on mini screen online,no matter the time and then go to work wrecked but happy to see him play.In Us open semifinal,i changed 3! T-shirts,i was sweating so much,pressure was to big to bear and i was not the one who was playing,but i was up on my feet when he was serving with 2 match points,but i will always support him no matter how is plays,win or loose.
    Last year i was lucky one to see Roger play live in London O2 arena,it was best tennis experience ever as we all now the way he played there last year,i have seen him play Ferrer and Murray from 3rd row seat,it was unreal,you won’t believe it unless you see it,flawless,perfection.Best few hundreds euro i ever spent.i consider myself top Rogers fan,guys have a lovely day,Ruan love your blog,keep going mate..

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    Veronica Lee Reply:

    Pete, don’t matter if English is not your native English. I love reading non-native English writers. They are unique and sometimes can be even more expressive than native English writers. Eg Ines; she writes straight from her heart. Btw, like you, I’m also not native English. English is not my first language but I’m more conventional in my writing and speaking and don’t have that “heart warming expressiveness” that some non native English people seem to possess.

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    Pete Reply:

    Thx Veronica,this blog is just awesome,keep supporting Roger,he will win grand slams,for sure,next year can change everything,with Novak defending so many points,not only Roger will win grandslam he can pass him as well with good results,at the end of the day he is the GOAT

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  19. ……If Roger retires I may keep following tennis, but I would never take fandom to the same level that I took it with Roger…..

    agree on every word of it
    there just something about roger :D

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  20. My dad watched tennis and used to play, so I can remember watching Borg vs McEnroe, though I was only like 5 or 6! (I vaguely remember preferring Borg; not sure why ;-) ) Later I also liked Edberg and Sampras. But I never really cared too much about anyone. Also, there wasn’t much tennis being broadcast in Canada (no internet streaming back then, either).

    First time I noticed Roger was when he won Wimbledon 2003. I thought “awww, this guy’s sweet (shy smile, tears) and his tennis is attractive and sometimes jaw-dropping.” So as time passed he won more and more and I thought “Good, I like that guy.” In 2007 I found myself more interested in watching tennis and seeing more of Roger’s matches. By Wimbledon that year I realized I was emotionally invested; wanted him to win every match, got upset when he lost. I never really cared about any tennis player or other athlete/team that much. I doubt I’ll be that attached to anyone else once Roger is done playing. So glad I saw him play live at 2010 Rogers Cup.

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  21. Very unusual post but highly entertaining.
    I actually hated Fed since the 2001 Wimbledon match against my beloved Sampras where i thought the result was a combination of mediocre performance by Sampras(by his standards) and a bit of luck by a young Swiss playing in the zone. This hatred lasted until the AO 2005 where he lost to my favorite player of that time in an all time classic semi. At that momment of joy i came to realize the oxymoron rooting against a player that played the best tennis i had ever seen(and i watched tennis since the early 80’s)just because he was very dominant. By that time i jumped on his bandwagon following almost every game elated by every win and heavily depressed by every defeat.

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  22. Hey guys, I also want to have a bit of my experience here for record albeit a bit late.Back in 2004 I was deputed outside of Kathmandu and I had nothing to spend my time on except reading newspapers and watching TV and Federer seems to have become new number one by then. I was inclined to root for him for a reason which very few people may go for.I just wanted somebody to break all records and I wanted this person to be not from the most successful nations such as America or Australia. I found Federer to be the right choice. As I went on watching him play I saw that he was also a perfect gentleman and that helped my cause further. That is how I became his fan.Quite a long time back or during 1970s I was a fan of Karpov in chess for a similar reason. He was a perfect gentleman and a pretty good chess player. Although he could not keep his domination for long and his countryman Kasparov soon surpassed him and in retrospect I think Kasparov is an overall better player than Karpov but Karpov is more to my liking due to his nature. For me excelling in the competition alone is not a cause for fandom. In tennis there is so much debate going on about who is going to be better of the two: Federer and Nadal,in the long run. My observation till now tells me that what the supporters of these two players may argue I donot think that Nadal can equal Federer’s achievement overall.

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  23. I have read with interest about how other commenters have come to find themselves in Roger’s very broad church of followers. Even those who have not been tennis players themselves, or passionate about the game, or who have come to admire him without seeing him in his best years, have all been drawn by the Federer mystique. That says something rather special about the man. In a moment, his gifts reach out – even beyond tennis itself – to tell so many that we are seeing something that comes by but rarely. There are very few – in any field let alone sports figures – who are able to do this.

    It was such a moment that captured me. I have followed tennis since the era of Laver and Rosewall and seen the procession of greats in each generation. Until Roger appeared it was Sampras. I was stunned to see a certain young Swiss player of feline grace and stunning skills topple the seven-times Wimbledon champion in 2001. I remained to be persuaded however until Wimbledon 2004. It was one shot that he played in his semi-final against Hewitt, that showed such consummate mastery of the game and of the occasion, that told me his win against Sampras in ’01 was no fluke – nor his title in ’03. This was a player of genius of the like that we had never seen before. We saw it many times in the years that followed.

    I believed it would only be a matter of time before he would solve the problem that was Nadal. But he ran out of time. Yes, Roger’s peak years are gone, even though he can still delight with his exhibition-like performances on occasion. But he remains the standard for how tennis can be played at humanly the highest level. His peers know this – I took my previous comment from James Blake – as well as his many fans, and his records speak for themselves. I am grateful for having been there.

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  24. thanks for the post and the comments, it really means a lot to see your passions shared by other people! :-)

    it took me a while to think about my first Fedfan memory..
    I guess the first time I heard about Roger was in Wimbledon2001, I was only 12then and I remember that my father was shocked when he defeated Pete..he couldn’t help repeating to himself ‘not bad this guy, not bad at all!’ :-)

    so I instictively liked Roger at once and in a few years I started watching more and more matches..I liked how he moved on court,he’s a mix between a fighter and a ballet dancer..I also liked his attitude on and off the court and,at the beginning, that was all.

    then I started to play tennis myself (needless to say, thanks to him!) and I think that’s when you truly realise his greatness..I mean, he does things that are impossible even to think for everyone else!!

    since then my admiration grew more and more and I think we’re all very lucky to have witnessed such a display of talent by such a great champion and person!

    in the meantime I just booked my tickets for Basel this month and, if all goes according to plans, I will see the goat live for the first time in my life! <3

    love from Italy! :-)

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  25. My first memory of watching tennis on TV was Wimbledon in the early 80’s. Mostly Becker and Edberg stood out for me and when I got a little bit better myself I always tried a little to play like Edberg.
    I started playing at the age of 5, but always more for fun and as a hobby. As a teenager in the 90’s my favourites were Courier, Muster and Agassi (Muster because I am from Austria like he is). From 92 Wimbledon on Agassi was my guy, I went all the ups and downs with him till the end. I first saw Roger live in Vienna 2000 playing Krajicek in the Quarters, but I went to the tournament that day mainly to see Henman.
    Since I saw Roger live that day I followed his matches on TV for the next 3 years liking what I saw purely for his magic of tennis but I wasn’t a fan yet. The Masters Cup match 2003 against Agassi changed everything. I was a diehard Agassi fan for over 10 years, but the way Roger played the two matches against Andre made me a Federer fan. I still was rooting for Andre for a couple of months, but at the 2004 US Open it was Roger I was hoping to win.
    I saw Roger play live two more times, 2008 at the US Open and 2009 in the O2 Arena at theWorld Tour Finals in London.
    As for the GOAT debate, for me it will always be Roger, regardless of any H2H or records or titles or weeks No1 …
    To watch him play is pure perfection, poetry in motion. It all looks so easy and effortless for him. How early he takes the ball and how he can change up speeds and slice on forehand and backhand is stunning.
    I hope he wins more tournaments in the future. Since Switzerland is my neighbor Country I plan to see him play in his hometown one more time before he retires, may that day be many years from now.
    Greetings from Austria

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    Ru-an Reply:

    Interesting story Martin, very similar to my journey.

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  26. Because I live in Australia, the only time of the year when you really get to watch tennis is January during the open in the last few weeks of the summer holidays.
    This is the only time of the year when everyone gets excited about tennis – past January no one really cares because there’s cricket, rugby, Australian rules football.etc and the timezones are just so incompatible.

    I got caught up in the AO hype in 2005, when I was about 11 and cheering for Hewitt. Strangely, I didn’t even notice Federer! After 2005 I started looking forward to Januarys every year because of the AO and fell in love with Federer in 2006. Still, I didn’t really care about tennis, it was strictly only a January thing. After Federer’s defeat in 2009 to nadal, though, I felt super sad and just kept on wanting to know if Federer was ok/how he was doing.etc And that was when I really started following tennis. I’m really glad this happened just before his FO and Wimbledon victories. But I missed his 2004-2007 golden years of domination!

    I’ve been a dedicated supporter of Roger ever since 2009.There are other players on the tour that I like but Federer’s the only one I really care about. I don’t care about nadal or djokovic, they’re good players and I can understand why they have large fan bases but never have I gotten the same thrill from them, or from anyone for that matter, that I get when I watch Roger play. He is my idol, I find him so endearing – not just because he is a superb athlete – and he will always be my No.1. Federer forever.

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    veronica Reply:

    Yep, Chloe, endearing….that’s what it is about Fed that touches every female heart. His crying ….awww! I can watch him cry everyday! His tennis and not letting his fans down means so much to him. I live in Australia too. My solution to getting tennis 24/7 is to subscribe to sports channel in Foxtel. When the hours are ridiculous,I record the matches. Because Fed will not have too many years left as a player, I want to catch every match, every expression of his, every cry from him. Like you, I missed the golden years of 2004-07, I’m not gonna miss ANYTHING anymore about him! It’s too painful to even think about those glorious moments of 2004-07; the longing, the regrets, to be a part of such phenomenal history and play by the one and only Roger Federer.

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  27. Interestingly enough I became a federer fan around the same time you did Ruan. I remeber I checked tennis every now and then but I followed no particular player.
    The match that turned me into a federer fan was the RR in the TMC 2003. I remeber I had a Psicology exam the next day and it was late into the night and I was studying for the exam. (I live in portugal so our time zone is like 5+ hours when compared to the USA)
    As I often do when studying I like to take a lot of breaks (lol) so I turned on the TV and the match was on.
    I don’t know what exactly attracted me to roger but I just knew that from that moment on Federer would be my favourite player. I think it was the playing style. It’s like poetry in motion as someone said.

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  28. It is so clear to me. I played tennis when I was young, and some in college and for a few years afterward. Then in the 70’s I started watching tennis on TV, but I wasn’t that interested, I remember enjoying Bjorn Borg, Connors, that’s about it. And then I got bored, with all the wham-bam baseline play. And stopped bothering to watch. then in July, 2003, I was visiting my son and his wife, and I walked through the family room and saw he was watching tennis. And was riveted! Who’s that, I said. It was Roger in the semi’s of Wimbledon. and that was it – I was a Roger fan. It’s a different world. It’s been a wonderful experience. And having just watched Roger play Berdych at Bercy, it’s not over.

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    Ru-an Reply:

    :-)

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