February 2, 2004 was a historic day for tennis. That Sunday 20 years ago, Roger Federer won the Australian Open final against Russian Marat Safin and reached number 1 in the ranking. That Grand Slam, in which he won the crown 6 times, elevated him in a million-dollar career, which ended in 2022.
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Throughout his brilliant career, in which he won 20 Grand Slam tournaments and held first place in the ranking for 310 weeks, the Swiss tennis player earned 1.1 billion dollars, according to a report by Forbes magazine. Of them, just over 130 million corresponded to the official ATP prizes; the rest came through advertising contracts.
In addition to the succulent awards he won for his triumphs, Roger took advantage of his image and influence to sign very advantageous advertising agreements, to the point that big brands continue to choose him even after he has retired.
Federer came to play in Australia when he was 22 years old and had a Grand Slam under his belt (Wimbledon, the previous year). On his way to winning the Cup he defeated three figures, two of them from the top ten: David Nalbandián from Córdoba (8th), in the quarterfinals, and Juan Carlos Ferrero (3rd), in the semis. In the round of 16 he had the pleasure of dispatching the local Lleyton Hewitt (11th), with the entire public against him. Only he and the Argentine were able to take a set from him in the tournament.
From that triumph, Roger began a record reign, as he remained at number 1 for 237 consecutive weeks. More than four and a half years later, on August 16, 2008, the Spanish Rafael Nadal, his historical archrival, took away that privileged place.
20 years ago, Roger Federer won the Australian Open final against Marat Safin and reached number 1 in the ranking.
In total, the Swiss was at the top of tennis for six periods, with one particularity: the last time, in June 2018, it allowed him to be the oldest number 1 on the men's circuit in all of history. He was almost 37 years old and could only stay at the top for a week.
Born in Basel on August 8, 1981, Federer is considered the best tennis player in history by journalists and specialized media, active and retired players, coaches and fans in general. What does not stand up to discussion is his legendary status in the world of rackets, with a dazzling career.
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In addition to the half-dozen titles he won in Australia, the Swiss won Wimbledon eight times (the most winners on the London grass). In the United States Open he was crowned five times and was able to have the pleasure of completing the four majors (as the Grand Slams are called) with victory at Roland Garros in 2009.
Brick dust was the surface on which he performed least easily and, in addition, he had to deal with Nadal, the best of all time on those courts. In fact, in that final he defeated the Swede Robin Soderling, who had eliminated the Mallorcan in the round of 16.
Federer's assessment among the best tennis players in history has a high dose of subjectivity from those who proclaim him as the greatest, because in statistics he was behind his two great rivals of the time: he is third on the podium of Grand titles Slam, with 20, behind Nadal's 22 and Djokovic's 24.
Roger was moved to tears when he won the Australian Open in 2018, aged 36. In that Grand Slam, but in 2004, he achieved number 1 in the ranking. (Photo: Thomas Peter/Reuters)By: REUTERS
Married to former Swiss tennis player Mirka Vavrinec, whom he met at the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games, Roger was the father of twins twice: Myla Rose and Charlene Riva, 14, and Leo and Lenny, 9.
He is currently dedicated to managing the Roger Federer Foundation and travels the world carrying out the organization's charitable works for needy children. His fortune continues to increase through advertising contracts, exhibitions and public presentations. A well-known Japanese brand will pay him $300 million to promote his clothing until 2028 (he has been doing it since 2018).