Swiss Maestro Roger Federer has his name on almost every relevant record that stands in men’s tennis. Apart from records, Roger’s reputation is not only of a remarkable tennis player but also of a great human being whose life is an inspiration to others.
We take a look at the impact Federer has had on tennis besides the normal playing talent that he possesses.
President of the ATP Player Council
Roger Federer was elected to the ATP Player Council for three terms (2008 – 2014) and since then has served as the Council’s President, indicating the image he carries on the ATP Tour. Under his leadership, the Council has voiced the opinions of professional tennis players and brought about path breaking reforms in the organisational structure of various tournaments.
Federer played an influential role in increasing the prize money being awarded to tennis players losing out in the early rounds of the Grand Slams. He played a key role in organising his fellow tennis players into a coherent lobbying force which led to USTA (management behind the US Open) and The All England Club (organizer of The Championships, Wimbledon) announcing a significant hike in prize money.
A Tennis Ambassador
Federer has always been vocal about giving back to the sport in every possible way. This can be confirmed by him playing numerous exhibition matches in different parts of the world.
Though, the proceeds of such matches go to a charity or a foundation yet one of the reasons why he participates in such activities is to help popularize the sport or give it a new lease of life.
The kind of popularity and affection Roger receives helps elevate tennis to a higher pedestal. People idolize him and want their loved ones to become like him.
Federer is a philanthropist at heart, traveling out of his way to countries such as South Africa and India to provide charity and support to those who live in poor health conditions, poverty, or victims of natural disasters. Since his establishment of the Roger Federer Foundation in 2003, he has helped “promote access to education, sports and play, and improve the quality where there are no or only insufficient funds available.”
This charitable Foundation’s work is primarily concentrated in countries in Africa and Switzerland, where long-term partnerships are made with carefully selected local organizations.
A Corporate Icon, a Brand’s dream!
Along with Sachin Tendulkar and Tiger Woods, Roger Federer has started the trend of corporate multi nationals hiring sports persons as their brand ambassadors at a global level. The connection established between the maestro and his fans has showered him the iconic status of an international celebrity which is being fully utilized by companies like Moet and Chandon, Gillette, Mercedes Benz and Rolex who give millions of dollars to him as part of their annual endorsement deals. In 2016 alone, Roger is expected to earn around 60 million dollars from his off court activities.
In the words of Fabien Ohl, a sports sociologist “Federer’s nationality has little significance abroad, where people attach other values that are closer to their own culture. It’s his personality that created the difference. In India, China, Japan and Pakistan for example he’ll be seen more as the ideal of the Western man who succeeds”.
His demeanour towards the sport both on and off court has greatly helped the game gain major importance in the global sports industry today. Excellent tennis skills and a humble character have made the Basel native the perfect idol and ‘just what tennis needed after Agassi and Sampras’ in today’s world.