Yes, there are other athletes that have been handy with the waterworks. English international footballer Paul Gascoigne and former Aussie cricket captain Kim Hughes spring to mind.
And we must never forget the particular talents of Jana Pittman, most amply demonstrated in her Athens Olympics Wa-Wa Knee blub series.
But no one beats Roger for blub endurance and versatility. He’s been at it for a good 13 years and he just gets better with age.
Roger first unleashed the public blub as a ponytailed teenager way back in 2001 when he beat his idol Pete Sampras in Wimbledon’s fourth round. That was a straightforward I-can’t-believe-it blub. Baby steps.
When he claimed his first Wimbledon crown at the hands of Mark Philippoussis two years later, he opted for the two-pronged blub — an initial outburst in his chair and again in a voice-cracking post-match interview.
Fast forward another three years to 2006. By now, Grand Slam titles have become part and parcel for the FedExpress. He racks up his seventh at the Aussie Open. No particular need for a blub, you’d think. Except Rod Laver is there for the trophy presentation and, well, Rog blubs like a One Direction fan.Embed from Getty Images
“To be honest, whether I had won or lost, it would have been emotional because he was here,” he explained later.
In 2009, it was a very different blub when he lost the Australian Open final to Rafael Nadal. This was the epic five-minute sob regarded by many as the hallmark of Roger’s blub repertoire.
Some months later, he won his first French Open and with it a career Grand Slam. They played the Swiss national anthem. Roger blubbed. John McEnroe gave him a light-hearted ribbing.
This year, Roger released, by my reckoning, his best ever blub, after a gruelling Wimbledon final loss to Novak Djokovic. It was a single tear blub, the kind that soapie stars do with a syringe full of water because it’s so bloody hard to do naturally. Rog, at the height of his blub powers, went syringe-free.
Now, before you get the wrong idea, I think Roger Federer’s a legend. Great player, fantastic ambassador. I’m such a big fan that when he plays an Aussie, I’m torn. Except when he plays Bernard Tomic and I quietly change national allegiance for an hour or so.
But when Mirka Federer called Roger’s mate and compatriot Stan Wawrinka a ‘cry baby’ as the two faced off in London recently, well, it was a bit like the pot’s wife calling the kettle black.
Rog and Stan have a fine bromance. This is them when they won the Olympics doubles title in Beijing.Embed from Getty Images
And this is them in matching Davis Cup jumpers. Bless.Embed from Getty Images
But Mirka’s sideline heckling sparked a frank 10-minute exchange in the locker room. Both players now claim there’s nothing to see here.
“It’s become a big deal because of the press,” says Stan. “But for us it’s nothing really.”
Let’s hope so. Because this weekend, Switzerland takes on France in the Davis Cup final. It’s the one piece of tennis hardware missing from Roger’s bulging mantlepiece. Given it’s been 22 years since Switzerland made the final, it’s probably Roger’s last chance to win it.
We need Fedrinka to be in sync. We need them to feel the love. We need Mirka to keep her mouth shut.
Because if Switzerland wins, it could be a blub for the ages.