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12-year-old Roger Federer as a ball boy: 'Chased players for autographs'

Roger Federer, 41, called time on his professional tennis career last week. He left the game with 20 Grand Slams.

September 26, 2022 / 01:58 PM IST
Where it all began for Roger Federer. (Image credit: Screengrab from video posted on Instagram by ATP tour)

Where it all began for Roger Federer. (Image credit: Screengrab from video posted on Instagram by ATP tour)

From being a 12-year-old ball boy in Basel, Switzerland to retiring as a tennis legend at the age of 41, Roger Federer has had quite the journey.

He bade goodbye to a professional tennis career last week, at a match he played alongside his fiercest rival Rafael Nadal in London. The sight of two of the tennis' greatest players in tears after the match made millions around the world emotional.

Reminiscing the Roger Federer years, the ATP Tour shared a video of how it all began. The video began in 1993, showing Federer as a ball boy in his city Basel.

It included his voice in the background, saying being a ball boy gave him the chance to chase tennis players for autographs.

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The clip continued with the milestones he went on to achieve -- his top 100 ranking in 1999, first title in Italy in 2001, first Wimbledon title in 2003, among many others.

Federer retires from tennis with 20 Grand Slams. Leaving a sport he is so passionate about was a "bittersweet decision", he said.


Read: Thank you, Roger Federer


"The past three years have presented me with challenges in the form of injuries and surgeries," he wrote in a letter earlier this month, while announcing his plans to retire. "I’ve worked hard to return to full competitive form. But I also know my body’s capacities and limits, and its message to me lately has been clear."

"I am 41 years old," Federer continued. "I have played more than 1,500 matches over 24 years. Tennis has treated me more generously than I ever would have dreamt, and now I must recognise when it’s time to end my competitive career."

After his last match on Friday, Roger Federer said he hoped to see his fans on a "different type of tennis court" in future.

"This is not the end-end, you know, life goes on. "I'm healthy, I'm happy, everything's great," he said.
first published: Sep 26, 2022 01:49 pm