Tennis Style Icon: Rodger Federer


Former Editor of Radio Wimbledon, Stephen Butterick, Shares his Views on Rodger Federer

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The Plus had the amazing opportunity to see Rodger Federer at Wimbledon, back stage, and live in action. To find out why he is considered one of the world’s best tennis players, we asked broadcaster, Stephen Butterick. Stephen has worked in commercial radio, TV and BBC radio. He was the former Editor of Radio Wimbledon, 1996-2011, and is now retired. In this short essay, he told us about Federer’s legendary style:

Whether or not Roger Federer is the best tennis player ever will always be a matter of debate, but no one is likely to ever break the records he has set. He’s 33 years old next month, so as we see him now, he’s in the twilight of his career. We can see the younger players overtaking him. Rafael Nadal, Nole Djokovic and Andy Murray all started playing when Federer was already established, and though all of them are brilliant players, there are qualities to Federer that none of them can emulate. He has always had a style on court that makes the most difficult shots seem easy.

Tennis today is a very physical sport. The players have to be fit enough to be able play for 4 or 5 hours, and be able to do that week in week out, over the course of the season. Nadal, Djokovic and Murray all play tennis with a huge amount of physical effort, and all three are fantastic athletes.

Murray often compares boxing with tennis – he sees tennis as two guys slugging it out. But tennis has never seemed a huge physical effort for Roger Federer. He has played with a style, grace and beauty that seems like a throwback to another age.

When tennis players serve, many seem to throw themselves into the action. Federer’s serve has always seemed smooth, easy and super accurate.

Sometimes when players come to Wimbledon wearing their white kits, it looks as if their mothers’ have just bought them a new outfit. But Federer never looks uncomfortable. He would have been a great champion in any age, whatever kit he had to wear.

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Photography: Xixi Zheng

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