The season-ending ATP Finals are underway at London’s O2 Arena. It’s the 50th edition of the singles tournament with the top 8 ranked men’s players participating. The one and only Roger Federer holds the record for the most appearances. He has made 17 consecutively since 2002, winning a record six.
The thirty-eight year-old, often nicknamed G.O.A.T – Greatest of all-time – holds the third highest number of Guinness world records within one discipline with 30, 18 performance based, including 20 grand Slam titles. Eight of those are Wimbledon Championships, winning his last in 2017 with a victory over Marin Cilic in yet another record-breaking 11th appearance in a men’s singles Final, surpassing the seven won by Pete Sampras and William Renshaw. His sponsors at the time, Nike, designed a commemorative logo incorporating the numeral 8 into his christian name.
Jimmy Conners is quoted, “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.”
Roger signed my sketch last Friday before a photo call and media sessions at the O2 Arena.
Last but by no means least on my series from this week’s ATP World Tour Finals at London’s O2 Arena is the arguably the greatest player of all time, the one and only Roger Federer.
Although losing to Novak Djokovic in last night’s final, he did beat the World #1 three times this year, including a comprehensive victory in pool play at this year’s event. At 34 he shows no signs of slowing up ,in fact quite the opposite and will start the 2016 season in third spot, hoping to add to his record 17 Grand Slam titles.
Former World #1 Jimmy Connors summed up Roger’s status,”In an era of specialists, you either have a clay court specialist, a grass court specialist or a hard court specialist… or you’re Roger Federer.”
That’s enough about the great man, what about his weapon? He plays with a Wilson Prostaff RF97 Autograph, 97 square inch racquet with a 21.5 mm beam, weighing 360g with a 331 swing weight and 16 x 9 string pattern, strung with over grip. When I caught up with him at the O2 before last nights final, the uber-cool and relaxed, designer-stubbled Swiss superstar, the only part of the racquet specs he had with him was his autograph which he signed on this sketch for me.
Regarded by most as ‘the greatest tennis player of all time’, Swiss maestro Roger Federer entered the ATP World Tour Finals this week ranked 2nd, chasing Novak Djokovic for the year the year end top position.
After his first round win against Canadian giant Milos Raonic he was presented with the ATP World Tour Fans’ Favourite Award, which he’s won for a record 12 times straight since 2003 and the Stefan Edberg Sportsmanship Award (voted by the players) for a record tenth time.
His achievements are to numerous to mention here, but he will get to add a missing one when he represents Switzerland against France in the Davis Cup Final after WTF extravaganza.
Roger was leaving the O2 on Friday evening with the other seven men making up the field. Security did warn us they were in a hurry to board the Thames Clipper boat to go to the WTF launch gala, but when I asked Roger, he said, “walk with me,” and kindly signed and dedicated my sketch.
Roger Federer is considered by most to be the greatest tennis player of all time. Winner of 17 Grand Slams and a record 302 weeks as Number 1 in the world cements his status.
Currently ranked at Number 7, The Fed Express reached the semi finals of the ATP World Tennis Finals in London this week with a stunning comeback against Del Potro, but lost to Rafa.
He proved a bit more elusive at this year’s event than previously, travelling by car and not boat, so opportunities to get his sig were limited. Prior to his semi, he did a 30 minute warm up and signed for a large throng, using the same Sharpie throughout! So the distinctive ‘graph is on the light side, but a graph nevertheless.