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If you think soccer fans are crazy about winning, then you haven’t seen the tennis ones. As “light” as the game seems, the amount of passion put into any given grand slam is enough to compete with any memorable football world cup. In fact there are several programmes on TV that show just how strong some players feel about winning. The likes of Andre Agassi and John McEnroe would challenge the officials on calls which they felt were not favourable to them. Looking at the attire and the tools used to play tennis you would not associate it with hot tempers. You would leave that for rugby or perhaps boxing.
In Up Close With Roger Federer which is coming to Trace Sports, we look at the tennis great’s life and achievements. He may not be at the top in the top five contenders for an anger management programme but he had his days. So in Up Close With Roger Federer we hope they show us a bit of that too.
But that’s not all the man has brought to the sport. Currently ranked fourth, Federer has been in the top 10 since 2002. He is considered by several players, former and current, as the greatest player of all time. Of course this can be argued when you want to include the likes of Agassi, Pete Samprass, Novak Djokovic among other legends. It’s almost like the Pele versus Maradona question. It is now meddled by the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo who are still active and breaking records.
Back to Federer. In the documentary about his life we go as far back as his memories of being a little boy and how tennis came into his life.
Although most people don’t talk much about it, Federer was born to a South African mother and a Swiss Father, much like comedian Trevor Noah. To date, Federer actually has dual citizenship for both countries. (You have to wonder if he would have taken the time to come and vote.)
You will be intrigued to know that while other tennis players draw closer to the sport as a result of being excluded at the other disciplines, Federer happened to genuinely like it. He still had promise in other sports like badminton and basketball which he played when he was younger.
After he answered the call to play tennis nothing has been the same since. He has done very well for himself to even have his name included in the “best ever” conversation. He married ex-tennis player Mirka Vavrinec and they have four kids, two sets of twins.
With the French open having started yesterday, many eyes are on Federer to do what he knows best on the clay-court.
He is not necessarily at his all-time peak and there are some strong contenders in the way but that has never stopped him before.
• Up Close With Roger Federer airs on Thursday at 10pm on Trace Sports Stars (DStv Channel 188).