| 73 There was spite in Roger Federer’s decision, when faced with a choicebetweenfootball or tennis, tochoosearacquet insteadof football boots. Hewasonly12yearsold, andhis the coach evaluated him as not being talentedenough for the so-calledwhite spot. “Thatdayat lunchI toldmyparentsthat I’d decided to stop playing football and to dedicate myself to tennis. As was the case later in life, theysupportedmydecisionand promised that theywouldalways backme. Itwasn’t easy,witheveryone tellingme that I was incompetent... But I trained for up to seven, eight hours a day without a break, wanting to show that I could do it.” This tennis acecame into theworldon 8th August 1981 in the municipality of Binningeninthecity-CantonofBasel.Thisplace is situatedon twohills overlooking the city of Basel, the country’s third largest city and acultural andindustrial centreontheRhine. The son of a Swiss father and a South Africanmother, hegrewup inMünchenstein, a suburb located a 10-minute drive fromBasel, inaCatholic familywherehe learned“to help others and to respect women”. And it is thanks to Federer that theworld learned where Münchenstein is. MOTTO: NO GIVING UP By the age of 14 this pupil of famous AmericantennisplayerandcoachNickBollettierihadalreadybecomeanational champion in all categories. He recorded successes at the Junior Australian Open, Junior Wimbledon and Junior U.S. Open, and then, in 1998, enteredtheworldofprofessional tennis. When he today looks back at his childhood, he says that he grewup early. Crucial to his upbringingwas amove to Lausanne, where he completed secondary school. “I oftencriedbecause Imissedahouse. All of thatwas abigchange forme, but I endured. I learnedtobestrong, persistent and independent,”Federer has said. He is certainly reminded of his youth by Lake Léman (Lake Geneva), the Collection de l’art brut art museum, the International Olympic Committee, or the underground metro rail system that Laussane is among the smallest cities in the world to boast. And then, on one of his journeys, he met her - Miroslava Mirka Vavrines. WOMAN OF HIS VICTORIES His fateful encounter with this Slovak-bornSwiss tennisplayer threeyearshis senior occurred at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, when theywerebothplaying for their national team. In the spirit of his poetic expressions of emotion towards his wife (althoughheoftenstresses thathe’sunable to express himself as a poet), it was then that he met “the light of his life, a woman for whom he would go to the moon”. He was persuaded to kiss her for the rst timeby awrestler friendwhowaswith them at that sporting competition. As he toldCNN, somethingextraordinarythenbegan for them. Due to a chronic foot disorder,Mirkagaveupher tenniscareer andbecame Federer’s PR repandmanager. At the start of their relationship she was even his coach, and their professional cooperation yielded the following results: of 10 matches, Roger won nine. They were married in April 2009 at a small ceremony in Basel, and in July that same year they received twins Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, then their family team was joined ve years later by another set of twins, boys Leo and Lenny. The measured and strong Federer tried not to cry while saying“yes”tohisMirka, surroundedby his family and friends, but he didn’t succeed. His emotions have also causedhimseveral times to lose on court, where he has otherwise – thanks largely to the support of his wife – recorded historic results. TERMINATOR ON COURT His rst ATP title, at a tournament in Milan in 2001, served as the precursor to a spectacular series of victories. And by the next year that series had already brought himhis rst trophy at the Masters Tournament in Hamburg. This tennis ace, whose role models were Boris Becker, Stefan Edberg andMichael Jordan, can today boast of having won every grand slam tournament in the singles category, a total of 20. In a sporting career that has for many been“surreal”, inwhichtheyear2004stands out as the start of hisperiodof domination, and in which 2006 was his most successful season, there have been rises and falls. But no defeat was stronger than Federer himself. Behind his ability to bounce back even stronger after every defeat hides his greatest quality. The winning run of this tennis player, whomanaged to spend 310 weeks at the top of the ATP list, has been temporarily halted by the infectious disease of mononucleosis, knee surgery and various injuries. There was no record that was stronger than his desire to break it. Pete Sampras, JimmyConnors andBjornBorgallwatched him beat their records for the number of consecutive victories in tournaments and the number of weeks spent as the world number one. His ve consecutiveWimbledon and U.S. Open titles provide the best proof that Roger is like the Terminator of sport. But evenTerminators sometimes cry. “Lifehastaughtmetobecalmandcomposed, and such an outward appearance often leads journalists to think that I’m arrogant and conceited. On the contrary, I’m very emotional and often cry, and I’m not ashamedof that,”saysFederer,whosemeasured and even cold approach on the court is confusing for many. WHAT’S NEXT? This athlete, who in 2009 was proclaimed by the Association of Tennis Professionalsas thetennisplayerof thedecade, useshisownFoundationtohelpchildren in Africa and victims of natural disasters. Humanitarianwork is his great plan for the future, and during this year’s Laver Cup he gaveadonationtotheNovakĐokovićFoundation intended for the children of Serbia. In the meantime, Roger supports Roma, listens to the music of Madonna and Lenny Kravitz, relaxes with lms like Gladiator andGoodWillHunting, speaksEnglish, FrenchandGerman, aswell as a littleSwedish and Italian. He would like to havemore time for his friends. Andwhilehe rests at his home in Bottmingen, which is adorned by a beautiful Castle that is a national treasure of Switzerland, he thinks about tennis. Because the Terminator is not yet ready to abandon the court. Gotovo da nije bilo rekorda jačeg od njegove želje da ga obori There was almost no record that was beyond his desire to break it