Roger Federer celebrated his 32nd birthday on Thursday in Mason, Ohio, where he’s already preparing for next week’s Western & Southern Open. In honor of Federer’s big day, we collected 32 of our favorite clips, photos, quotes and more from the 17-time Grand Slam champion.
1. The King of Improvisation.
3. Asked to explain his greatness, Federer’s response was shockingly simple: “I’m definitely a very talented player.”
4. Remember that one time he got an incurable case of the giggles?
5. Or that other time he got an incurable case of the giggles? Maybe it’s just something about the Spanish?
6. Roger Federer: Rock Star. Kind of:
7. Tennis’ Superman: Marat Safin was asked once to name the three greatest players in history. He said Rafael Nadal, Bjorn Borg and Pete Sampras. When asked about omitting Federer from the list, Safin clarified: “I thought you said players from planet Earth.” Lleyton Hewitt said of the “freak” Federer: “I haven’t seen a lot that Roger hasn’t been able to do, so he’s as close to Superman as it comes.”
8. Silence, Mr. and Mrs. Djokovic! Genius at work!
9. No one on the ATP Tour gets in the subtle dig the way Federer does. It’s masterful. Here he is at the 2009 Australian Open, where weary defending champion Novak Djokovic retired down two sets to one to Andy Roddick.
10. During a South American tour, Federer was asked about Brazilian women. He wisely says he’ll “look at them, but no touching.”
11. Federer wasn’t always the clean-cut, debonaire hair model that he is today. Check his hair evolution.
12. He slices, he dices, he juliennes fries:
13. Federer’s endearing, humble-braggy attempt to console Roddick after beating him 5-7, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5), 3-6, 16-14 in the 2009 Wimbledon final.
14. Howdy, Partner. Federer in a cowboy hat:
15. Federer leads a celebration for the Swiss Davis Cup team.
16. The Federer-Nadal rivalry has electrified the sport for the last decade. Of course, their most memorable duel came in the 2008 Wimbledon final, where Nadal prevailed 6-4, 6-4, 6-7 (5), 6-7 (8), 9-7 as twilight fell on Centre Court.
17. No mention of Federer is complete without a shout-out to his parents, Robert and Lynette, the epitome of class and kindness in the tennis parenting community. After watching their son lose to Nadal in the 2008 Wimbledon final, Robert made it a point to immediately deliver some congratulatory hugs to the Nadal family in the player’s box.
18. The Federbear. No autograph line at a tennis tournament is complete without a few hundred of these guys.
19. They started dating in 2000, and Federer and a very shy Mirka Vavrinec played together for Switzerland at Hopman Cup in 2002. They gave a very giggly interview:
20. Thanks to Federer, we have one of the best tennis press conferences of all time, courtesy of Roddick, who took a 6-4, 6-0, 6-2 shellacking in the semifinals of the 2007 Australian Open.
21. The quirky celebration between Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka at the 2008 Olympics. In case you need translation, Wawrinka was on fire.
22. Federer did a good job learning to harness the temper that plagued him when he was younger. But losing to his nemesis Djokovic in the 2009 Sony Open was the straw that broke the GOAT’s back. And racket.
23. I can’t wait for the day when Federer has a mid-life crisis and goes back to his bleached blonde hair:
24. Federer rarely gets into it with umpires, but during the 2009 U.S. Open final, he bristled when umpire Jake Garner told him to calm down as the Swiss complained that Juan Martin del Potro took too long to challenge a call.
25. “God, it’s killing me!”
26. The famous Federer viral video from a Gillette photo shoot. We can debate whether the trick is real, but isn’t the point of the whole thing that we actually believe it could have happened?
27. Federer has hit some incredible shots in his career, but this one is my favorite.
28. His Wimbledon fashion statements.
29. Federer in 2004, on his “rivalry” with Roddick: “For me, I’m in the driver’s seat; I’m No. 1 in the world. I’ve won the last couple of meetings [against Roddick], and I’ve won the big tournaments lately. Whoever comes, I’ll try to beat him. But it’s almost up to me to decide who’s my rival, isn’t it?”
30. Who doesn’t love the twins?
31. Federer, at 19, beat his idol Sampras 7-6 (7), 5-7, 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-5 in the fourth round of Wimbledon in 2001, in what was effectively a changing of the guard:
32. Tears of joy from the tennis gods after Federer won the 2009 French Open to complete the career Grand Slam?
What are some of your favorite Federer moments? Let us know in the comments.