The 37-year-old Federer may well be the best men’s player of all time with a record 20 grand slam victories (and 10 runner-up spots), but his aura and popularity add up to far more than the sum of his titles.
Perhaps it has to do with his longevity and elegant playing style.
Federer attended a fundraiser for Roddick’s foundation in Austin, Texas last September — sandwiched between the US Open and Laver Cup — and the way the American remembers it, showed little pretention.
This from one of the world’s most recognizable names who has pocketed more than $120 million in prize money and landed plenty more in endorsements, not to mention having nearly 13 million followers on Twitter and even more likes on Facebook.
“I mean I don’t know how he has enough hours in the day, but he did,” said Roddick. “Landed, great attitude. He’s very insightful. On the car ride to our events that we were doing, most people would say, ‘Hey, what time am I leaving? I need to have a plane.’
“He goes, ‘What can I do to help the most today? Are there any messages that we need to get across? Is there anything I can ask of your donors?’ He just has that kind of a way of asking great questions and really making the most of time that he gives.”
“He’s one of the most normal people I know, and most superstars are always a little bit weird,” Cahill told CNN Sport. “You’ve gotta be a little bit weird to be so self-driven and to go after your dreams and to put so much aside to be able to chase those, but he’s got a way of doing that and being that driven but also being pretty bloody normal.
“I think that’s why so many people react to him in the way they do and can connect with him and I think that’s a big part of his personality.”
Federer contested his first Wimbledon match against Jiri Novak in 1999, losing in five sets to the Czech. He is the lone entrant in the field from back then still playing now.
All these years later Federer continues to flourish, having collected his 10th title at the Wimbledon tuneup of Halle — and 102nd overall — last Sunday. Seven more titles and he will match Jimmy Connors’ men’s record.
Next year’s Olympics in Tokyo are likely to a big target, since the lone silverware missing from his trophy cabinet — which must be the size of a mansion — is an Olympic gold in singles.
Federer has said that when he does eventually retire, he doesn’t want it to be a sad moment. Roddick — who abruptly announced his own retirement — hopes his buddy gets an extended send off.
“I almost feel like the tennis world and the sporting world and just the world kind of deserves to say goodbye to him in each one of these spots,” he said.
“You can’t tell someone how to go about it, but I’m sure a lot of people would appreciate the chance to say goodbye to him.”