Having picked up 16 majors, spent 285 weeks at number one and been voted the second most respectable person on the planet (behind Nelson Mandela), Roger Federer has also collected a few big name friends and fans along the way.
The editor-in-chief of American Vogue, Wintour is a familiar face at a Federer match. Federer has admitted that he had no idea who Wintour was when she approached him at the 2002 US Open, but has since taken both on and off-court fashion tips from her. There has been much speculation about whether Anna has a crush on Roger – she once left a Jimmy Wu fashion show early to watch her beloved Roger win the French Open.
During the middle of the last decade, the two most dominant men in the sporting world struck up a friendship which saw them share not only incomparable success, but also the promotion of a brand of razors. Woods famously sat in Federer’s box for the US Open one year, and then celebrated Federer’s win in the locker room with the Swiss, rather than taking the allegiance of fellow countryman, Andre Agassi. After questions arose about their friendship following the American’s ‘transgressions’, Woods said: “Fed and I, we text all the time still. He’s been a great friend over the years – we’re ‘needling’ each other all the time.”
The third member of the ‘Gillette Trio’, Henry and Federer have been friends since filming the adverts together. Henry was most recently spotted at the World Tour Finals in 2011 where he graced Federer’s box, similarly to Woods, instead of a fellow compatriot’s, this time Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Federer was then Henry’s guest at an Arsenal FC match the following night. Federer said of Henry: “I’m sure he hopes that I win. But it’s more about seeing each other really. He wasn’t crying (with happiness) when I came in the locker room (after my win).”
Gavin Rossdale and Gwen Stefani
The rock’n’roll couple seem to be the closest of all of Roger and Mirka’s friends. Rossdale, lead singer of 1990s band Bush, is a big tennis fan himself and can be regularly seen passionately fist-pumping towards Roger. On the other hand, there is ‘No Doubt’ that tennis does not excite Stefani so much – she looked distinctly unimpressed as the excitement built during the 2008 Wimbledon final. Rossdale described a hit with Federer as “my version of a Wimbledon final.”
The friendship blossomed when Federer needed a hitting partner in 2007, in preparation for the Indian Wells competition in California. The Swiss contacted Sampras, and Sampras was more than happy to help him out. In 2009, when holding 13 slams, Sampras stated “(He’s a) Great player, great guy. I’ve said this, the last couple of years, if someone is going to break this (my) record, it’s going to be Roger. He is a friend.” Federer now states the court at Sampras’ house as one of his favourites on tour.
Federer is a tennis heavyweight; Klitschko is a literal Heavyweight, holding four World boxing titles. The two met at an awards gala in Germany in 2005 and have been friends since. Wladimir was present to see Federer beat Nadal on the clay of Hamburg in 2007, and also during the 2006 US Open semi-final against Nikolay Davydenko. It would seem that Klitschko has a bit of a ‘man-crush’ on Federer: “If you meet the big guys, like Roger Federer, you’re just so inspired. He’s a very handsome and very, very down to earth guy. He’s not complicated, just a real nice person.”
The footballer fondly refers to Federer as ‘my boy’ when tweeting about tennis. Rio loves Federer’s one-handed backhand and jokes with his friend about how the RF brand is shared between them both. The Manchester United defender has a big stash of RF merchandise himself.
The Hollywood actress was present at the 2011 French Open final where Federer lost to Nadal. An unexpected face within the Federer box, it is suspected that she was as much Anna Wintour’s guest as she was Federer’s. Despite the fact they may never have met each other before, Miller put in a more convincing performance of support than Gwen Stefani manages to.
Mary Joe Fernandez
A very successful player herself in an era of greats such as Graf and Seles, Fernandez is now married to Tony Godsick, Roger Federer’s agent. This connection means that the American spends a lot of time watching Federer, and has become good friends with his wife, Mirka.
The star of ‘The Hangover’ and ‘The A-Team’ is an avid Federer fan and got to play against him in a charity event where he teamed up with Maria Sharapova to play Federer and Johnny-Mac. Cooper, much like Rio Ferdinand, loves the RF merchandise and is responsible for arguably one of the most awkward photos the tennis world has ever seen, where he is pictured with Roger and Rafa (and Bar Rafaeli), wearing his own personal RF jacket.