Clarey makes the most of more than 20 years of journalistic access to Federer across six continents ... highlights some of the more publicly undersung but crucially influential members of Federer’s long-evolving team ... The book also deftly peels backs layers on some of the biggest matches of Federer’s career.
Clarey’s purpose is perhaps the most comprehensive book to date, an account of Federer’s journey from young prodigy to elder statesman that contains copious detail ... Clarey is a smooth, unpretentious writer who benefits from not being a Federer fanboy...He is as strong on Federer’s weaknesses as his strengths and writes with particular clarity on the struggles he has had with Djokovic ... Where the book falls down is in the lack of pace and fresh information, although, to be fair, Federer has not always been open about his life beyond the white lines. The Swiss emerges as a decent character, with huge talent, who finds life as uncomplicated as the game he has graced with such distinction.
Few writers could capture the evolution of Roger Federer’s ascent to the top of his sport from his start at age eight with more clarity and vision than New York Times tennis correspondent Clarey. He offers a master class in sportswriting as he presents the case for Greatest of All-Time (GOAT), tracing the growth and influences of the tennis superstar ... Clarey presents a well-researched analysis drawing from more than 20 interviews with Federer over the years, and with key players and influential figures ... A must-read for devoted tennis fans and everyone interested in athletes and the sports world.
Although many articles have been written about tennis champ Roger Federer, this new biography could easily become the definitive book-length treatment ... provides a fascinating, complete portrait of the athlete that clearly demonstrates how and why he has become a tennis superstar. Readers will get a front-row seat, with play-by-play calls, to some of Federer’s most historic matches, both exhilarating and agonizing. Clarey also offers a glimpse inside Federer’s mind, showing how his relationships (with family, friends, etc.) have cemented his being called, by many, the most complete tennis player in modern history. Clarey has won awards for his reporting and his even-handed coverage of sports, earning him the trust of many modern sports figures; his well-researched work is based on a number of candid interviews with current and former tennis stars who have competed against Federer throughout his extensive career, among other primary sources ... This comprehensive portrait will thrill tennis fans and will also draw in and capture readers unfamiliar with Federer or professional tennis. An essential addition to sports and biography collections.
It’s subtitled The Long Run and Beautiful Game of Roger Federer, and Mr. Clarey does full justice to both. Deeply reported and crisply written, the book could be a snooze for readers immune to tennis’s appeal, but it’s a treat for those who love the sport and the men and women who play it at its demanding best ... accurately describes the future paragon as an annoying kid. Once young Roger starts the long climb up the world tennis ladder, he gets a bye. Indeed, in 406 pages I counted just one quote suggesting that his serene exterior masks less-appealing responses to life’s aggravations. But the champ is still prone to crying after big wins and losses, as the author duly notes ... Among the pleasures of Mr. Clarey’s book are his perceptive sketches of rivals, contrasting their backstories, temperaments and skills to his subject’s.
... deeply reported and researched ... The biographical rundown is by-the-numbers but cliché-free. Of more interest is Clarey’s framing of Federer’s career in the context of his competition ... A fine work of sports journalism, well worthy of its estimable subject.
Despite the level of detail he offers in recounting Federer’s legendary Wimbledon matches, [Clarey's] handling of the Swiss’s life off the court is notably superficial. In one instance, Clarey describes how Federer’s wealth enabled him to arrange the best homeschooling for his twin daughters, but he fails to explore how that choice (made for Federer’s convenience) impacted his children. Meanwhile, Federer’s laudable decision to establish a foundation to help improve early childhood education in Africa is given short shrift in favor of extraneous trivia on other top tennis pros. Those seeking a deep dive into the personality of a sports star may need to keep looking.