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Basel Icons: Roger Federer

We couldn't possibly have a series on Basel icons without mentioning Basel's favourite icon: Roger Federer. Know not only for his prowess on the tennis court and good sportsmanship, but for his charitable work as well.

Photo: Britannica


Early Life

Roger Federer was born on August 8, 1981 in Basel. From a very early age he had a passion for tennis and started playing at age three. At age eight he became a part of an elite junior programme at the Tennis Club Old Boys Basel, founded in 1927. He was also a ball boy for several tennis events in Basel.

This eventually led to being part of the junior tennis team, and at 12 years old he won the Swiss national junior tennis championship in Lucerne. Although he was involved with many other sports (badminton, basketball, football, skiing and swimming), he soon decided to focus solely on tennis. He then began training at the Swiss National Tennis Centre in Vaud, eventually wining many junior titles, and by 1998 he was ranked Number 1 in the junior world ranking in singles.


Photo: BaZ Online

Federer's childhood training created a strong foundation for his professional tennis career. His success was phenomenal, culminating in 2006, which is judged to be statistically his most successful season (second overall behind the most successful season of all time, Rod Laver's Grand Slam year of 1969). In this year Federer won 12 singles titles, as well as three Grand Slam titles, culminating with a win in the Swiss Indoors tournament in Basel, his first hometown title.

Federer's success continued throughout his career, and he eventually achieved 20 Grand Slam titles, participating in 31 major finals, including a record 10 consecutive Grand Slam finals. In the Olympics, he won a doubles gold medal in 2008 and a singles silver medal in 2012. He also won eight Wimbledon titles and is considered by many to be the greatest tennis player of all time. In 2022 he retired at the age of 41 years old.

Charitable Work

Photo: PR Newswire

Throughout his career, Federer has also done much philanthropic work. He is a passionate advocate for many charities and foundations and has also created the Roger Federer Foundation, which has been supporting children's education projects in both Switzerland and Africa  for 20 years. His has helped over 2.5 million children to access early education in close collaboration with local communities. 

Basel is extremely proud of their most famous citizen. His extensive contributions as a tennis player and a role model have led Federer to receive an honorary doctorate from the University of Basel. He has also been honoured in Basel with the Federer Express tram, decorated with some of the most iconic moments from his tennis career. Not only has he demonstrated being a successful Swiss tennis player, but has shown his willingness to help others through his success and continues to do so. 


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