In a CNN Sport interview, Roger Federer is reduced to tears when asked about Peter Carter and what the influential coach would have thought of the Australian Open champion’s success today.
Federer not only attributes his unique method to coaching under the Adelaide-born Carter, but also his career and success; winning Wimbledon in 2003 before going on to achieve a record 20 Grand Slam titles.
The two met when Federer was growing up in Basel before Carter became coach to the young Swiss.
Unfortunately, one year before Federer was to win Wimbledon on 2003, Carter was to die in a car accident whilst on honeymoon in South Africa.
Turning 37 on August 8 – one day before what would have been Carter’s 53rd birthday - Federer remains close to Carter’s family and his parents usually occupy his player’s box in Melbourne for the Australian Open.
Recounting how they first met at the Old Boys’ Tennis Club, Federer said: “He was one of the star players on the team. I was able to, you know, have coaching lessons with him.”
Becoming visibly emotional, he went on to say: “Peter was a really important person in my life. I think if I can say thank you for my technique today, it’s to Peter.”
When asked what Carter would have thought to see Federer now with 20 Grand Slams, struggling to maintain his composure, Federer added: “I hope he would be proud.
"I guess he didn’t want me to be a wasted talent. So. I guess it was somewhat of a wake-up call for me when he passed away. And I really started to train hard.”
When asked if there was anything further he’d like to say about Carter in view of his life now, he replied: “I think, what I’d like to say is that, I’ve been incredibly fortunate in having had the right people at the right time; the right coaches at the right time.
“I mean, sure you could argue I made those decisions, but er, I also got lucky along the way.”
Learning of Carter’s death whilst playing at the 2002 Canadian Masters in Toronto, Federer was reputedly said to be “never so upset in his life.”
Whilst seeking to win a third successive Australian Open title in Melbourne next week, two-time defender Federer is not favourite to win, however.
Odds are instead in favour of world No. 1 Novak Djokovic, winner of the last two Grand Slam tournaments and a six-time Australian Open champion.