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The Tennis Podcast

The Roger Federer Story - A Tennis Podcast Special

We know about the 19 Grand Slam singles titles, the 302 weeks at World No.1, the incredible comeback to win an 8th Wimbledon title at the age of nearly 36.

But where did it all start for Roger Federer? Where did he make his professional debut? What was he like as a teenager? Is it true that he had a bad temper? And were there really doubts about whether he would deliver on his talent?

In a special edition of The Tennis Podcast, The Roger Federer Story is told through the eyes of BBC 5 Live commentator and Tennis Podcast presenter David Law, who met Federer for the first time the day before his professional debut as a 16-year-old in Gstaad, Switzerland in 1998. 

In his role as Communications Manager on the ATP World Tour, Law worked behind the scenes with Federer for four years, and remembers Federer’s growing pains as he went from boy to man with the eyes of the world waiting for him to fulfil his potential.

We learn of his struggle to come to terms with the death of his first coach Peter Carter in a tragic car accident, and hear from Federer himself in a BBC 5 Live interview with Law less than an hour after his first Grand Slam title at Wimbledon in 2003. The ‘Federer Years’ of domination are covered, as are the threats to his throne from Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic, the moments in 2013 when Law thought Federer was finished, and the comeback that made all those writing him off look stupid. Law and co-host Catherine Whitaker also delve into the debate as to whether Federer should be considered the greatest male tennis player of all time.

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  • 1237. RG Day 4 - Swiatek, Osaka serve up classic

    01:10:57
    It was a dreary day at Roland Garros, with the rain falling and play on the outside courts cancelled, but it came to life when Iga Swiatek and Naomi Osaka came onto Court Philippe-Chatrier and played one of the most thrilling matches of the year. Swiatek escaped as the winner, saving a match point, but it felt like Osaka won something too as she played her best tennis in years. On the pod, Catherine, David and Matt cover the match, the press conferences, and the disappointing crowd. Elsewhere, there's chat about an unconvincing win for Carlos Alcaraz, impressive performances from Ons Jabeur and Stefanos Tsitsipas, a big moment for Sofia Kenin, and a look ahead to tomorrow's schedule. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1236. RG Day 3 - Rybakina imperious on-court, irritable off it; Djokovic dials in

    01:09:09
    On the final day of round one action at Roland Garros, rain fell for most of it, but once the clouds cleared there were plenty of talking points for Catherine, David and Matt. There's chat about Elena Rybakina's awesome performance on court before a pretty chippy press conference, Novak Djokovic showing some signs of life, a dreadful day for French players, Alize Cornet's retirement, and excitement for a fun order of play on Day 4. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1235. RG Day 2 - Sun sets on Rafa’s Roland Garros reign

    01:05:29
    Rafael Nadal may have played his final match at Roland Garros. That's a lot to comes to terms with, but we tried on the pod after watching his straight sets defeat to Alexander Zverev. We describe where the match was won and lost, how it made us feel, and whether Nadal will fare better at the Olympics in a couple of months. Elsewhere, there's chat about convincing wins for Iga Swiatek and Coco Gauff, a winning return for Bianca Andreescu, mixed fortunes for French players, and much more. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1234. RG Day 1 - Fun first day, but Djokovic reveals doubts

    01:10:36
    As opening days of Grand Slam tournaments go, that was a pretty crazy one, starting with Naomi Osaka winning a match that became too close for comfort, ending with Andy Murray walking off Court Philippe-Chatrier for probably the final time, and featuring lots of fun matches involving French players. The new Suzanne Lenglen roof was also unveiled and Novak Djokovic gave a cryptic press conference where he talked about having 'low expectations'. Catherine, David and Matt wrap it all up on a two-part podcast, that also includes predictions for Rafael Nadal vs Alexander Zverev on day two. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1233. Roland Garros Preview - Nadal gives reasons to believe

    01:08:56
    In our final preview show ahead of this year's Roland Garros, we were live in our AirBnB in Paris to react to an astonishing Rafael Nadal press conferences as he confirmed that he's feeling better, said there's a chance he could play this tournament again next year, and revealed that he's been practising well in preparation for his first round match against Alexander Zverev. There was a dose of realism in there too - he hasn't played at a high level for a long time - but his mood was much more buoyant than we were expecting. We also react to Hannah's latest column to talk about how Nadal's dominance at the French Open has made us feel over the years and how to come to terms with what the tournament will be like without him. Finally, there's reaction to Naomi Osaka and Bianca Andreescu's press conferences, chat about possible outsiders who could go on a run, a discussion about what would count as success for Novak Djokovic in 2024, and a run through the day one order of play. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1232. Roland Garros - Sinner & Alcaraz calm injury concerns; Swiatek owns the room

    01:14:49
    Catherine, David and Matt divided and conquered on media day at Roland Garros as Carlos Alcaraz and Jannik Sinner both spoke positively about their fitness, Daniil Medvedev and Coco Gauff discussed their serves, Andy Murray reflected on his 2017 semi-final against Stan Wawrinka, Alexander Zverev talked about his round one showdown with Rafael Nadal, and Iga Swiatek gave off a real air of confidence. Plus, David doorstepped some Danish journalists to find out about the real Holger Rune, and we watched Novak Djokovic lose to Tomas Machac in Geneva. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profile
  • 1231. Roland Garros - Draw drama as Nadal faces Zverev

    01:08:24
    The Roland Garros draw threw up 128 first round singles matches, but there’s only one which everyone is talking about: 14-time champion Rafael Nadal drawn to face Alexander Zverev. On the pod, hear the reaction from inside the room when Zverev’s name was drawn next to Nadal’s, as well as Catherine, David and Matt’s own feelings about the prospect of that match. Elsewhere, there’s chat about the draws facing all the other leading contenders, the state of French tennis, and Dominic Thiem’s defeat in qualifying. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Rafael Nadal at Roland Garros is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnRafaSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profileTennis Podcast Terminology
  • 1230. Swiatek’s in a Mix of one at Roland Garros; Thiem’s quest to qualify

    01:13:26
    It’s Roland Garros week! And Iga Swiatek will head to Paris as an overwhelming favourite for the French Open title after her dominant victory over Aryna Sabalenka in Rome. Catherine, David and Matt discuss the final, Swiatek’s game on the clay, and where she stands in relation to some of the all-time greats. On the men’s side, Alexander Zverev won his second Rome title over Nicolas Jarry in the final. Where does he rank among the Roland Garros favourites and will the fact that his trial for domestic abuse allegations begins on May 31st have any impact? There’s also chat about Novak Djokovic’s decision to take a wildcard into Geneva, Emma Raducanu withdrawing from French Open qualifying, and Dominic Thiem’s attempt to get into the main draw. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Emma Raducanu is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnEmmaRaducanuSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profileTennis Podcast Terminology
  • 1229. Rome chaos reigns for the men while Swiatek-Sabalenka ride again

    01:12:54
    Catherine, David and Matt are together at Tennis Podcast Towers to discuss everything that's happened in Rome since Monday. There's lots of excitement about a final rematch between Iga Swiatek and Aryna Sabalenka, David's hopped on board Matt's Nicolas Jarry hype train, and Catherine rants about the French Open's decision not to give Dominic Thiem a wildcard. OUR LINKS:Join The Barge!Become a Friend of the Tennis Podcast to also help us to produce the show year-round, receive exclusive access to bonus podcasts throughout 2024, including Tennis Re-Lived and Grand Slam review shows, read Hannah's Column and watch monthly live shows on YouTube. Hannah’s latest column about Emma Raducanu is available for Friends - https://bit.ly/HannahOnEmmaRaducanuSign up to receive our Newsletter (daily at Slams and weekly the rest of the year, featuring Matt’s Stat, mascot photos, predictions, and more)Follow us on TwitterFollow us on Instagram (@thetennispodcast)Subscribe to our YouTube channel.Check out our ShopRead our New York Times profileTennis Podcast Terminology