“Roger Federer Was Always My Hero”: Denis Shapovalov, Matteo Berrettini and Others Reflect on Childhood Idol

Published 07/22/2021, 12:30 PM EDT
Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer acknowledges the spectators as he walks off the court after losing his quarter final match against Poland’s Hubert Hurkacz Pool via REUTERS/Ben Solomon

For decades together now, the ‘big 3’ of Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic has reigned sheer dominance on the court. Together, they have been at the heart of every tennis conversation, making headlines with every swing and a miss. However, a new generation of stars is beginning the take the center stage.


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Courtesy of their agility, the youngsters have stolen the spotlight from the veterans. Despite their age, playing at the highest level, they have managed to cause some big upsets, surprise defeats and announce their arrival in style. Regardless, they do not fail to credit their role models, even as they dream to surpass them one day.


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The ultimate ‘G.O.A.T’ debate is a never-ending conversation for fans and followers of the big 3, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, and Novak Djokovic. However, the youngsters already have a favorite and it’s no surprise who they love the most. From Canadian star Denis Shapovalov to the 2021 Wimbledon Championship finalist, Matteo Berrettini, all hail the legendary Roger Federer to be their idol.

“He was my hero”- Denis Shapovalov

In a newly emerged video, Denis Shapovalov recalls idolizing Federer, as he watched him play growing up. He said, “He was always my hero and I kind of wanted to match my game to his”.  


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World No. 8, Matteo Berrettini, also picked Roger as his favorite. He shared his mesmerizing experience of when he played against the icon for the very first time.

“He looked like he wasn’t putting effort, you know? Like he was just so smooth and so light on his feet. That’s why I  think the I time I played him, I was like “What is happening here?”

Watch this story: Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic, Serena Williams and Others Winning Medals of Glory at Olympic Games 

Germany’s golden boy, Alexander Zverev, was all hearts for the Swiss legend too. He said,How he was playing the game it looked so easy in a way, it looked like he was really playing the ball. He was the best player to watch.” 

Roger Federer bids farewell

Roger Federer made an emphatic return to the court after an unfortunate injury saw him rest out for an entire year. However, he was back to his very best at the 2021 Wimbledon Championship, garnering world attention with every sublime backhand.

Regardless, his return was cut short after a certain Hubert Hurkacz outplayed the legend in the quarter-final round. Devastated, Roger left the center court, as fans watched in utter shock.


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Tennis – Wimbledon – All England Lawn Tennis and Croquet Club, London, Britain – July 7, 2021 Switzerland’s Roger Federer walks across the players bridge Pool via REUTERS/Ben Solomon

Despite his unbelievable loss, Roger’s greatness was once again on display as he greeted fans that flood the gates of Wimbledon for one last glimpse. With a smile on his face, he waved out to the heartbroken fans, who couldn’t help but wonder if this was the last they saw of him. However, away from retirement speculations, Roger is currently working his way back to full fitness.

The 39-year-old withdrew from the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, after facing a setback in his knee. Notably, the 20-time Grand Slam champion promises to make yet another return, hopefully, in a decorated fashion.


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Melroy Fernandes

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Melroy Joseph Fernandes is a Tennis author at EssentiallySports. A Mass Media graduate, Melroy has been a content writer for the past 6 years, curating stories for several brands, starting from his own. At the age of 17, Melroy began his writing Journey with Team BIB, an event management company for everything Art and Entertainment.