Thursday, September 8, 2011

Roger Federer's Matchpoint: Mirka

Mirka at the Davidoff Swiss Indoors games

Mirka. She is of course the wife of Roger Federer and mother of their two year old twin daughters. They got married in 2009 although they have been together for quite sometime now, ever since they met at the 2000 Sydney Olympics where they both represented their country, Switzerland, in tennis. Hers is the face that regularly and constantly graces Federer's player's box in all his matches, especially during the tennis majors. No other woman, wife, girlfriend, or companion or whatever could match that adoring presence, much less survive the suspense, thrill, and excitement, in victory and defeat, every game her man played. Her "stamina" in the player's box for almost ten years now has the media describing her as "the most courageous woman" in tennis. I've seen and watched her perhaps since 2002 because the TV cameras have always focused on her. You could sense her joy when Federer scores and wins but likewise feel her pain and agony in those difficult moments and defeats of her man. We ourselves watching on TV could hardly bear those moments because we are Federer's big fans. How many times has he gone through tie breaks, 5 setters, etc.; those classic encounters with Rafa Nadal in Wimbledon and Australian Open where Federer broke down during the awarding ceremony . She's a major presence indeed in the tennis world but the significance of that presence was best described by Federer himself when he said, "Thanks to her, I have been very calm in the important moments of my career."

Miroslava Vavrinec, a.k.a. Mirka was born in Bojnice, Slovakia (formerly Czechoslovakia). At age 2, her parents migrated to Switzerland. When she was 9, she watched tennis legend Martina Navratilova (also from Czechoslovakia but later acquired American citizenship) play in Germany. It was here that Navratilova took fancy on her, discovering a potential champion. Thereafter, she sent her a racket and gave her a trainer. At age 15, Mirka became Switzerland's Girls Junior champion. She attained her highest ranking in the ATP tour at No.76 in 2001 but recurring foot injury forced her to retire in 2002. Since then, she went with Federer with a role as Press and Public Relations Manager. It is said that in those years that Federer didn't have a coach and manager, she also acted as one because being a professional player herself, she knows tennis. Her addiction to chewing gums is famous and you could see her continually chewing during the games. And unlike most wives, celebrities, etc, she doesn't have a blog nor a twitter account.

Mirka, called Federer's secret weapon by The Independent

She has a beautiful face that still looks the same after 10 years. She may have gained weight but it is still that face that launched 200km/hr serves and aces in Roger Federer's arsenal. Federer is arguably the greatest tennis player of all time, having won the most number of tennis major titles at 16 at all four Grand Slam tournaments, the Australian, French, Wimbledon, and US Open. And perhaps still going. But many agree that he couldn't have accomplished everything he has in his career without the "constant, loving, sympathetic, and knowledgeable" presence of Mirka. German tennis legend Boris Becker aptly described their relationship: "So this is it. Match point for eternity."  


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