Federer Junior On The Way

Apr 2, 2009

Roger Federer announced on his website on 12th March that he and his girlfriend Mirka will be parents by the summer. Yes, Federer is about to become a Daddy for the first time. By the looks of his post on his website, Federer was glowing in his new role as soon-to-be father.

But will the bundle of joy have an effect on Federer’s game? There appears to be two schools of opinion on the matter. One; that Federer has not banked on the exact toll fatherhood can take, and we won’t be seeing any more grand slam titles coming his way when the baby arrives. Two; that although it will most probably have some impact on Federer as a man – doesn’t fatherhood always? – it will have a minimal effect on his tennis career.

First, argument number one. Well, you can’t help but feel it is a little extreme. I read one alarming article that wrote Federer off the minute he held the new baby; no-one, apparently, is to expect wins or Grand Slam titles to be added to his name once he becomes a father.

Really? I don’t know if that is entirely true. If Federer doesn’t manage to retain any more of his titles, then I doubt it is entirely to do with being a Daddy. The statistics these doubters give are also a little suspect. Apparently, only 10 out of the last 115 Grand Slam titles were won by fathers. The likes of John McEnroe and Stefan Edberg saw their titles diminish once they became papas. But there’s another factor going on here: age. John McEnroe actually won three titles after the birth of his son Kevin, but the year  after was his first year without winning a title since he became a pro. At this stage, he was 28. In tennis terms – unfortunately, and even for the likes of McEnroe – that is quite old. But it’s the pretty average time in a man’s life to start having kids. Fatherhood just seems to happen to coincide with the time in a tennis player’s life where their career starts to slow down. Seeing as Federer is now 27, there appears to be a similar model going on.

Secondly, argument number two. Sure, Federer isn’t going to be completely unchanged by the pitter-patter of tiny feet. No father is. He will have to do his fair share of the nappies, the night feeding, etc. And as Ivan Ljubicic warns, ‘It’s just that your life changes completely. Priorities are different. You’re not the one in the family who’s the most important.’ Ljubicic knows a thing or two about this sort of situation; he recently returned to tennis now his son has turned 5 months old.

But Roger Federer is Roger Federer, and his immense success and talent on the court demonstrates a certain uniqueness. He is a very driven man, but not single-minded. He may find a baby changes his game, but then again he may decide that having a baby lessens his striving for record-breaking glory. Either way, we can guarantee that Federer will know what’s best for him and his new family, so all I can say is: many congratulations, and good luck!

 

 

-          SophieG

 

 

Written by: SophieG

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