In his 2021 book titled The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer, author Christopher Clarey makes a case about how the prolific tennis player broke boundaries but fails to cover life off the court.
ny number of people can be titled GOAT (Greatest of All Time) in different fields. Kendrick Lamar, for instance, is not only the voice of this generation but the only rapper in history to win the Pulitzer Prize in Music for his album, To Pimp a Butterfly.
He is the only one among his contemporaries and predecessors to have won at the Grammys and the Pulitzers at the same time. Apple’s founder, the late Steve Jobs, was another visionary, with Elon Musk counted as the latest visionary in technology. In all these fields, these men had unforeseeable vision, brought it to life, and went on to change the world or at least create some kind of interest across the map.
In tennis, Roger Federer has surpassed his predecessors, but during the process, he has transcended the game. No matter where or against whom Roger Federer is playing, the crowd is enchanted and roots for him to win every single time. From China to United States, the result is always the same.
For fans of Roger Federer, who ascent to become one of the most prominent tennis players, his charming demeanour also matters. The man is in the same league as Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg, Andre Agassi, John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, and Rod Laver, who are the best tennis players the world has ever seen.
Roger Federer is also a celebrity. During many, if not most, of his matches, his box includes family as well as family friends, like Anna Wintour, and depending on where he is playing, a contingent of celebrities descend to watch a game that can go on for five hours if it is a grand slam.
You’ll also see him at the Met Gala, fashion’s biggest night - when his schedule allows - as well as other prolific events or ads with the likes of Anne Hathaway. What Christopher Clarey’s book The Master does well is open a door to why he is such a poetic player on the court and how he has changed his game.
It also contains Federer’s views on his greatest opponent, Rafael Nadal. Both have beaten each other on the court, literally cried upon winning, doing so time and again, but how Federer describes his rival shows he is observing and doesn’t take credit. “Quite impressive isn’t it? Federer said. “He’s already bigger than me, and he’s five years younger. Imagine how he looks in five years! It is good for tennis that you’ve got these different type of guys and players, but at eighteen, nineteen. I was nothing like that.”
At 40, Federer announced he would not play every grand slam or every prolific match but he will play 1000 Masters and see where that takes him. For pure Roger Federer fans who wish to learn about his rise in the sport of tennis, this book is full of anecdotes. But for pop culture fans, who realise Roger Federer is bigger than being a tennis player, The Master is disappointing. From hanging out in Dubai, U.A.E. to being buddies with fashion circle’s ultimate name, Anna Wintour, who is among his closest family friends, along with musician Gavin Rossdale, actor Bradley Cooper, No Doubt singer Gwen Stefani, and former footballer David Beckham, we don’t really get a look into the player’s life away from the court. It’s about his wins and defeats and determination to become one of tennis’ brightest stars to have ever shone. He’s done that. This book covers those victories and losses. So, glass half full.
– The Master: The Brilliant Career of Roger Federer is available at Liberty Books