We pick Federer’s career’s some of the most notable incidents from the Swiss star’s time on tour to honor Federer’s illustrious career.
1) 2003 Mark Philippoussis Wimbledon championship
Federer’s first major slam triumph came in the 2003 Wimbledon final, which also marked the first time he had such a large television viewership. Federer displayed all of his skills at one point during the first set tiebreaker when the score was tied at two, including a half-volley from the baseline, wide-angled groundstrokes, and a stunning forehand down the line.
2) 2005 Andre Agassi in US Open final
Agassi, the sentimental crowd favorite, was the target of a tremendously powerful forehand from far behind the baseline by Federer to start the match—possibly for the first time in his career. The veteran American appeared incredulous. When Agassi met Roger Federer in the 2005 US Open final, he later reflected on the match, saying, “There was no safe location to throw a ball on the court. Because of Roger’s excellent service, return, movements, and net game, he may have had five personal advantages over every other player on the Tour.
3) Juan Martin del Potro vs. in the 2009 French Open semifinals
After suffering a crushing loss to Rafael Nadal in the 2009 Australian Open final, Federer was eager to win the French Open in order to complete his career grand slam. In the fourth round, when Robin Söderling defeated Rafael Nadal, Federer realized that this might be his greatest opportunity to triumph in Paris. But the 6’7″ Del Potro and his persistent ground game were a significant challenge for him, both literally and physically. However, Federer was able to prevail in five sets by employing a number of techniques. In the second game of the match, Federer was able to track down a forehand and win by curving the ball down the line.
4) 2009 Wimbledon championship with Andy Roddick
A year after taking part in what many consider to be the best match ever played at SW19, losing to Nadal in five exciting sets, Federer was back in the Wimbledon final. Roddick prevailed in the first set before dominating the tiebreaker with a comfortable 6-2 lead. It appeared that Roddick had some control over the situation when he blasted a forehand at Federer’s feet while serving for a potentially insurmountable two-set lead. On the other hand, Federer triumphed in the tiebreak with a careless half-volley backhand shot (at about the 4:45 point in the video above). In a remarkable fifth set, he would win, 16-14.
5) Novak Djokovic vs. in the 2010 US Open semifinals
This list contains a few opportunities that Roger Federer squandered because of their significance. With New York fans salivating at the thought of a Federer-Nadal final, it appeared as though it would actually happen in 2010. (Unfortunately, Gotham was barred from witnessing the two-square conflict). Djokovic missed his first two serves when serving with a 15-40 deficit. However, on both occasions, Federer tensed up and let Djokovic get a shot off.
6) 2011 French Open semifinal matchup with Djokovic
When the 2011 French Open came around, Federer had lost four straight grand slam finals and was going through his first professional “slump.”2011 French Open semifinal matchup with Djokovic the two players who everyone was talking about going into the tournament were Nadal, who had just had a three-grand slam season in 2010, and Djokovic, who had started the year superbly by winning 41 straight matches, including the Australian Open a few months earlier. Federer pulled off a massive upset by defeating Djokovic in four sets with an obviously motivated effort.
In the above video, around the two-minute mark, Federer pulls off a flipped backhand down-the-line passing shot that stuns Djokovic and helps him win the match in the last set after both greats have traded magnificent smashes from all over the court. He waved his finger in the air after the contest to let everyone know how much the victory meant to him. The significance of this triumph was not lessened by the fact that Nadal defeated Federer in the championship match.
7) 2011 US Open semifinal matchup against Djokovic
Surprisingly, Federer found himself up two match points in the same round in New York just a year after surrendering two match points to his adversary in the semi-final. It was on his serve this time. 2011 US Open semifinal matchup vs Djokovic
The first match point was saved by Djokovic this time thanks to a spectacular return. Then, on the second match point, Federer flubbed a simple forehand into the net because he was obviously shaken up by what Djokovic had just done on the first match point. Following the match, Federer expressed his unusual public anger by claiming that Djokovic didn’t appear to “believe much longer in winning.”
8) The 2017 Australian Open final against Nadal
Federer entered the Australian Open with minimal enthusiasm; his career had already been declared unofficially finished after he struggled with physical problems and underwhelming results in the slams. The same could be said about Nadal, who was coming off what was perhaps the worst stretch of his career. In Melbourne, though, the two performed. With a strong track record against his arch-rival, Federer, Nadal had figured out the secret to beating him (high balls to the backhand side).
Federer’s backhand didn’t sag on this particular day. But as this move in the third set, which handed Federer a break point, showed, it was his tremendous forehand that secured him the victory. Federer managed to hit a half-volley down the line with terrifying power, giving him an advantage (45-second mark above). After Federer overcame a breakdown in the fifth set to win the title, the third act of his illustrious career would begin.
9) Quarterfinal matchup vs. Tomas Berdych at the 2017 Miami Open
Okay, so this wasn’t really a crucial game or competition for Federer (although he did win it). Nevertheless, it must be included because the shot—a mid-court, high-in-the-air drop shot that absolutely duped Berdych—is so amazing.
10) The Djokovic-Wimbledon final of 2019
It may seem unfair to conclude with a negative one for Federer, but the defeat disguised the startling realization that, despite being just weeks away from turning 38, Federer was still only one grand slam triumph away from reaching an advanced age in tennis. The fact that it all occurred against Djokovic must have hurt. The match was once again in Federer’s hands (around the 40-second mark above), but this time, he opted for conservative serves that Djokovic handled with what appeared to be ease. I don’t know what I feel right now, said Federer, who was crushed by the outcome. I simply find it hard to accept that such a significant opportunity was lost.