Roger Federer has officially announced his formal retirement from tennis, putting a capstone on one of the most decorated tennis careers of all time that forever changed the sport.
As a five-time BNP Paribas Open champion (2004, 2005, 2006, 2012, 2017) and the winningest men’s or women’s player in tournament history, no singular figure has had a more impactful role in shaping the storied legacy of Indian Wells than the Swiss Maestro.
To commemorate his undeniable legacy of greatness in the desert, let’s take a look back at Federer’s all-time greatest moments both on-and-off the court in Tennis Paradise:
It didn’t take long for Federer to find success in Tennis Paradise, as his first Indian Wells title came at just 22-years-old. Roger’s maiden title in the desert came just as he was bursting onto the scene around the globe, when his resume included only two Grand Slam titles.
Fresh off a 2004 Australian Open championship run, the No. 1 seeded Federer cruised to victory in Indian Wells. With a ponytail emblematic of his youth and a signature Nike headband, the Swiss superstar dropped just one set on the road to what would be his first of five championships in the desert.
Often times, the highlight and awe of watching Federer play came in how casually and naturally the game came to him, and this drop shot from 2018 perfectly epitomizes that.
Of all his amazing shots at Indian Wells over the years, it may feel a little silly to choose one that didn’t officially count towards a point, but this drop of brilliance from Federer showcases his amazing ability to make awe-inspiring talent seem utterly effortless.
Roger’s lighthearted and infectious energy off of the court made him a crowd favorite at the Indian Wells Tennis Garden every year, especially among some of the tournament’s youngest fans. His ability to connect with the next generation of tennis fans was on fully display in 2018, when local Desert Valley schoolchildren were given the fun task of sketching their on-court idle. The results were priceless.
Seeded No. 1 for the second year in a row, Federer marched to back-to-back Indian Wells titles, squaring off against Australian icon Lleyton Hewitt in an iconic Stadium 1 final. The championship match between the two multi-time Grand Slam champions unsurprisingly produced thrilling tennis, with Federer ultimately prevailing in straight sets to secure back-to-back victories in Tennis Paradise.
Federer’s 2018 run in the desert may not have ended with a title, but it left fans with one of the most dramatic and exciting matches in recent Tennis Paradise memory.
Facing off against Argentina’s Juan Martin Del Potro in the final, the rematch of the 2009 US Open Final did not disappoint, with Del Potro prevailing once again over the legendary Swiss Maestro. The two stars battled each other to the brink, with the title ultimately decided by a third-set tiebreaker that left fans in Tennis Paradise on their feet cheering for both players by the time it was over.
After a six-year title drought in the Coachella Valley, 2012 saw Federer get back to his winning ways in Indian Wells, and he did so in trademark style. He faced Rafael Nadal in the desert for the first time in the 2012 semifinals, dispatching of his longtime friend and rival handedly before doing the same against the American John Isner in the final.
When the sun set on Tennis Paradise in 2012, the 30-year-old Federer had earned himself the esteemed honor of at the time, having the most BNP Paribas Open titles of any men’s or women’s singles player in history.
Every year, the spectacle of Tennis Paradise brings some of Hollywood’s most famous stars to the desert to experience world-class tennis, and in 2017, Federer showed that he can keep up with the musical talent of Southern California himself.
Partnering with friends Grigor Dimitrov and Tommy Haas, Federer brought down the house in Stadium 1 with not only his on-court talent, but also his great voice as a member of tennis’ favorite musical trio: ‘The One-Handed Backhand Boys.’
Federer’s on-court success in the early 2000s knew no bounds, and no where else in the tennis community were his achievements more pronounced than Indian Wells. His career-best 2006 season included another title in Tennis Paradise, where he topped American James Blake comfortably in the final to win his third consecutive title and become the first player to three-peat in the desert.
After missing much of the 2016 season to recover from a knee surgery, Federer’s 2017 got its kick start with a memorable fifth and final title in Indian Wells. Tennis Paradise fans got one final glimpse of Federer title glory with his takedown of fellow countryman Stan Wawrinka in the Swiss vs. Swiss final. Federer’s five titles are now tied for the all-time record alongside Novak Djokovic.
Despite producing almost two full decades worth of thrilling on-court rallies and mind-blowing shots in Indian Wells, this video from 2017 still arguably takes the cake as the top Federer moment in Tennis Paradise. His five titles in the desert will forever be etched in the record books, but the iconic kids’ press conference is memorable in its own signature fashion.
To read more about Federer’s storied history in the desert, find our full recap of Federer’s unparalleled legacy in Tennis Paradise.