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Men's semi-final preview: Discovering Roger Federer

Roger Federer waves to the Centre Court crowd after defeating Mikhail Youzhny.
by Barry Newcombe
Friday 6 July 2012

Roger Federer's talents as the king on the green turf are well acknowledged, however this is also a man of six languages, an avid supporter of FC Basle and a devoted father to twin daughters.

1. Winning pedigree: Roger is the son of Robert, who was in the pharmaceuticals business, and his South African wife Lynette. His father is at all of his big matches, wears a peaked cap and watches intently until they are over. Roger has a sister, Diana, who is two years older.

2. Champion idols: Began playing tennis at the age of eight and was inspired by Boris Becker, of Germany, and the Swede, Stefan Edberg, who were dominating the game when he was young and learning. His favourite player is Pete Sampras, one of the outstanding players of the open era.

3. Home team support: Was once on the ground staff of FC Basle football team in his home town and follows all of their matches, home and away. But for further relaxation he can be found on the beach, or playing cards, or table tennis.

4. World Cup inspiration: At the 2010 football World Cup in South Africa he gave a motivational talk to the whole Swiss national squad. Obviously it did the trick because the players went out and beat the eventual winners, Spain, in a group game.

5. Lingo extraordinaire: Federer speaks six European languages - Swiss, Swiss German, French, Swedish, English, and Italian. Depending on where he is playing he will use the language of the country when he addresses the crowds at the end of any on-court presentation.

6. Olympic romance: He met his wife, Mirka Vavrinec, when she was a member of the Swiss Olympic tennis team at the 2000 Games in Sydney. They married on 11 April 2009 in Basle, his birthplace.

7. Double the joy: Twin daughters Charlene Riva and Myla Rose were born on 23 July 23 2009 and do attend some tournaments to show support for their father. But they have not yet been observed in spectator seats - it could be distracting for him.

8. Waving the flag: Federer has a strong Olympic connection - he carried the Swiss flag at the head of the team at the opening ceremonies for the Olympic Games in Athens in 2004 and again in Beijing in 2008. He will be doing the same at London 2012, along with fellow tennis players Maria Sharapova, for Russia, Novak Djokovic for Serbia, and Rafael Nadal, the gold medallist in 2008, for Spain.

9. Steady start: His love affair with Wimbledon is well documented but he played his first four championships from 1999 and lost in the first round three times. When he did eventually win his first title, in 2003, he sank to his knees and wept on the Centre Court as all of his feelings came to the surface.

10. Six from seven: Federer has won Wimbledon six times and been runner-up once. In his winning finals he has beaten Mark Philippoussis, of Australia, Andy Roddick of the United States three times, Rafael Nadal of Spain twice.

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