Roger Federer is the model athlete. Not only is the 18-time major winner one of the best tennis players in the history of the game, but he’s known for his class, inspiration and charitable ways off the court.
In other words, Robert and Lynette Federer have done some of the greatest parenting work of all-time.
Here’s a look at everything you need to know about the couple that raised a little Fed-Ex into the worldwide superstar he’s known as today:
1. Robert Says Lynette Is the Better Athlete
Looking for where Roger’s unbelievable athletic gifts come from? Look no further than Mama Bear.
Lynette (née Durand) grew up in Johannesburg, South Africa, where she says she was one of the best athletes in her school in track and field, netball (a sport similar to basketball) and field hockey. She played the latter “at a relatively high level” but ultimately had to quit when she started developing leg injuries.
“She was already an outstanding field hockey player when I met her,” said Robert, who also admitted she is the better tennis player and golfer.
2. Roger’s Looks Come From Robert
That’s according to Robert:
If my father, Rotschi (that’s what Robert calls his son) and I were to stand side-by-side, we would all look the same. All of them have those distinct eyebrows, the same look around the eyes. In the past people told me I was the spitting image of my father, and with Roger it’s exactly the same.
3. Robert and Lynette Met in South Africa
Robert was born in Swtizerland and grew up in Berneck, but he has always had a desire to travel. When he was 20, he moved to Basel, and four years later, he and a group of friends made their way to South Africa.
That’s where he met Lynette. The two were married in 1973, the same year they moved back to Basel, and gave birth to their first child–daughter Diana–in 1979.
Not long after, Roger was born August 8, 1981.
4. They Found the Perfect Balance of Parental Involvement
Raising a child who is obviously gifted from a young age is not an easy task. Lots of parents are too over-bearing, while some others may not give their kids enough direction early on.
Robet and Lynette, however, found the perfect balance. As two experienced tennis players themselves, they obviously introduced Roger to tennis, but they also let him play squash, basketball, soccer and other sports. Moreover, they made it clear that it was up to him if he wanted to pursue tennis as a profession.
“The children have to put their hearts and souls into it,” said Lynette. “They cannot be forced to do it, not by the mother, the father, the school, or the coach.”
It’s safe to say it worked. Roger left Münchenstein, Switzerland at the age of 14, made his first ATP final at 18, and the rest is history.
“It was also important for them to give me space and to trust my coaches. Parents need distance from the coaches,” said Roger. “But my parents still kept an eye on everything.”
5. Roger Is Using His Parents’ Teaching Methods on His Own Kids
Roger, the father to two sets of twins, has made it clear that he won’t force his own children into anything they don’t want to do:
I don’t know if the kids are ever going to play tennis at a high level like that. Honestly, I think it all depends on how things are going to be when we settle in Switzerland, and what sport they are going to take up.
But I think for any kid it’s important for them… to enjoy what they’re doing, whatever sport that is.
Well, it certainly worked for Robert and Lynette.