Roger Federer is such a master of timing, it’s only apt that an expansive new biography about him arrives at an uncanny moment.
Subtitled “The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer,” “The Master” unfolds with the mostly chronological precision of Swiss clockwork. New York Times tennis correspondent Christopher Clarey makes the most of more than 20 years of journalistic access to Federer across six continents — experiences that include waiting for him in a chauffeured car outside a packed stadium match near Buenos Aires, tagging along on an early-morning private flight out of the California desert, brunching with the star before panoramic views of Lake Zurich. Clarey provides a window into the “low-friction” world of Federer as a wealthy athlete, but not before showing the sometimes high-friction risks of devoting your life to the pursuit of tennis glory.
Federer — so often likened to a maestro, a painter, a ballet dancer — can make the game look artfully effortless, such is his uncommon fast-twitch grace. Clarey appreciates the technical qualities that make Federer such a physical outlier, such as how his eyes stay fixed on the contact point just a bit longer than everyone else.