Roger Federer, a genius who made tennis look effortless, died Saturday in Switzerland. He was 82.
Federer, who turned professional in 1968, dominated the sport, reaching a record-setting 19 Grand Slam finals and winning 16 singles titles, including the 1985 Australian Open. He won another 14 majors, four in a row between 1988 and 1992.
He lost only one Wimbledon singles match and just one doubles match.
Federer’s death was first announced by the Swiss newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger.
During a press conference at the start of Swiss tennis’s clay court season, the newspaper said Federer had suffered an inoperable lung condition.
Federer, who took a short break last year to work as a tennis trainer, took his last walk with his daughter, Mirka, before a tournament at which she served in the mixed doubles with her husband, the American, and was leading in the first set tie-break.
It was the first time Federer had left the court before Sunday’s Grand Slam final. He was at his best in the three-quarter finals of Wimbledon.
“I’m happy, of course. I’m very proud that I was able to continue being up and down the way I felt for the past few years,” Federer said in a news conference in Basel, where he lived with his partner, Monica Seles, for over a year after retiring from the tour.
“The way I was at the time was probably the best way in the world to play the game. It was very important in my career in terms of how I was progressing as a player, but also in terms of who I was as a person, where I was as a person.”
In a career spanning more than 40 years, Federer’s victories over opponents ranked from world No. 3 to No. 9 all made him one of the greatest of all time, the only one with four singles titles – against Bjorn Borg, Carlos Moyà, Boris Becker and John McEnroe – to go with three doubles titles. The only other men to win three singles titles in their first four majors are Rod Laver, Stan Smith