Roger Federer was presented with the Stefan Edberg Award for sportsmanship for the eighth time on Wednesday afternoon at the O2 Arena in London. The award is voted by fellow players and promotes fairness, humility and sportsmanship. Federer also took home the Fans' Favorite Award for the tenth consecutive year, an award decided by fans' votes on atpworldtour.com.
Considering Federer has received both the awards almost every year since 2004, (2010 was an exception), I started wondering about what Federer has been saying each year. Surely it takes a creative mastermind to come up with new words for the same award year after year after year.
Turns out, I was unable to find any quotes previous to the year 2007. But judging on what Federer has been saying for the last six years, I think we can guess that his thank-you speeches from the missing years contain words like 'humble,' 'important,' 'inspiring' and 'wonderful.' Here's a look back at Federer's acceptance speeches.
"I am very happy to receive three more ATP awards for 2007," Federer said. "The Sportsmanship Award is voted by my fellow players and it is a great recognition for me. It is equally important to be voted by the fans as their favorite player. 2007 was a fantastic year for me, finishing No. 1 in the South African Airways ATP Rankings for the fourth consecutive time and continuing to receive the support of the players and fans worldwide."
“It is great to receive two more awards. It is always important for me to be a good sportsman on the court and give the right example for others to follow and hopefully inspire the next generation. It also means the world to me to be the fans’ favourite player for the sixth year in a row. The support I receive from the fans around the world is so motivating and it is humbling to receive this award once again."
"It is also very humbling to be awarded the sportsmanship award again by my fellow ATP players, many of whom I have known for a long time. Additionally, I would like to thank my fans for voting me as the Fans’ Favourite. I always try to exhibit fair play and be a good sport, and it is the fans that inspire me to play this wonderful game.”
2010: Perhaps annoyed at being snubbed for the Stefan Edburg Award, Federer kept this one short and sweet.
“I would like to thank my fans for voting me once again," Federer said. "The fans inspire me to play this wonderful game.”
“One of the reasons why I play this wonderful sport is for my fans so I would like to thank them once again for their continued support,” said Federer. “It really is so amazing and means the world to me. It’s also gratifying to be recognised by my fellow players for exhibiting fair play on and off the court. The award is named after Stefan Edberg, one of my childhood idols, so it is even more special.”
"Stefan Edberg was my idol growing up. He was a great inspiration for me. I always tried to play according to the rules and be respectful to my fellow competitors. A lot of other players totally deserve this award; it's a great pleasure to win it.
"[That it's voted for by fellow players] makes it extra special. We have great matches all over the world and the recognition is a great feeling. We're trying to inspire the next generation.
On receiving the Fan Favourite Award, Federer said, "It's incredible. I got this award for the first time in 2003, the year I won Wimbledon, and every year since. It keeps me motivated and inspires me. It makes travelling so much easier. I hope I'll see you supporting tennis and me in the future. I couldn't thank you enough."
While we think Federer is doing a great job at accepting thousands of awards and managing to thank his fans every time, we think we could almost guess his 2013 speech (and no doubt there will be one)!