The Peter Carter behind the Roger Federer

carter 11- Carter & young Federer —Pic

Every year, at the Australian Tennis Open, behind Roger Federer’s coach (earlier Edberg and now Ljubicic), sits an elderly couple. There is a story to this couple, and it shows what a human being Federer is. The couple, as Federer’s die-hard fans would know, are Bob and Diana Carter, the parents of the tennis great’s first international coach, the Australian Peter Carter. Federer was just nine when Carter took him under his wing. In 2002, in a terrible tragedy, Carter died in a car accident in South Africa during a vacation with his wife.

The story goes that Federer (then 21) was so affected by his coach’s death that he ran through the streets of Toronto (where he was playing that day) bawling his heart out. Carter had recognised Federer’s genius at a young age, and was determined to make him an all-time great. For over a decade, Carter was at it before he died at the age of 37. He was not Federer’s first coach, but the one who took him from relative obscurity in Basel in Switzerland to the threshold of international greatness.

carter and federer Federer and

So, coming back to Bob and Diana Carter. Federer feels so close and so indebted to them that, every year, since 2005, his team sends an all-expense paid itinerary to the Adelaide-based couple — first-class air tickets, bookings in the same hotel as Federer, food, winner’s parties and even commiseration parties in Melbourne. And they sit in Federer’s box at the Rod Laver Arena, supporting him as if he were their son. They see their Peter in him. And Federer never forgets the Carter family’s role in his life and career.

Federer, 34, may or may not win his 18th Grand Slam. But is he one of the greatest humans to have set foot on a tennis court? He sure is.

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Who is Peter Carter? ……An article from Roger Federer BlogSpot ….

Any tennis fan who loves Roger Federer, can associate Roger’s love for his former tennis coach, Peter Carter. Here is a tribute along with some snippets on Peter Carter.

Peter Carter

Peter ‘Carts’ Carter (Aug 9, 1964 – Aug 1, 2002) grew up in the Barossa in a tennis loving family of Bob and Diana Carter. He would trail along to the courts with his parents and two older brothers. When he was 12, he was playing A grade, then at 15 he moved to Adelaide to live with coach Peter Smith, the man who played a part in many famous careers, including John Fitzgerald, Darren Cahill, Brod Dyke and Lleyton Hewitt. In words of his coach, Peter Smith, He was a little younger than Fitzy and Brod Dyke but in terms of Mark and Darren who were about the same age, I think people considered him to be the best of that particular group.” One of Peter’s most memorable wins was when he defeated John Alexander while he was still at school.”

He then went on the ATP circuit, but dogged by injury, he eventually ended up coaching in Switzerland, where he met the young Roger Federer. His dad, Bob, recalls: He said to me one night when he rang “Oh, have I got a young boy here who looks promising,” “he’s only about 12 or 13”. He said, “I think he’s going to go places.”. And that was Roger Federer.

Peter coached Roger through his formative teenage years till he turned pro. He was popular in Switzerland and eventually became the country’s Davis Cup coach and captain. His mom recalls: And the team actually refused to play unless he was the captain, at one stage.”

Peter’s life seemed complete when he met his wife swiss-born, Sylvia, but shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with cancer. After a 12-month battle last year she was cleared of the disease. They travelled to South Africa to celebrate. But, while travelling in separate cars, Peter died of injuries sustained in a car accident,as his Land Rover crashed near the Kruger National Park . He was 37 by then. Roger Federer was playing in Toronto ’02. After losing in the first round to eventual champion Guillermo Canas, he learnt of the sad news. Roger said: I was very shocked and very sad when I found out. He was a very close friend. This is the first time a close friend of mine has died.” 

Peter Carter is now remembered as part of the Carter Altman Penfold Fund. The charity known as CAP helps children with disabilities play sport and remembers two other tennis players, Nick Altman and Jeff Penfold. Also, the clash of Australia & Switzerland in Davis Cup is named as Peter Carter Trophy, which Australia won in Dec ’03 Davis cup final.

Bob Carter on Federer: Obviously Roger [Federer] has got enormous talent, but I am sure, and I can see it in his game, what’s there Peter would have taught him. The serve volley and the slice and the variety in his game, that’s how Peter played. I’m sure that is showing out in Roger now.”

Federer on Peter Carter: Peter wasn’t my first coach, but he was my real coach. I made trips with him. He knew me and my game, and he was always thinking of what was good for me.” 

Peter Carter, Luke Smith, Peter Smith, Lleyton Hewitt





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3 responses to “The Peter Carter behind the Roger Federer

  1. Pingback: Roger Federer’s Profound Grief in Recollection of Peter Carter’s Guiding Hand … Today | Thuppahi's Blog

  2. EMAIL COMMENT From MAHINDA WIJESINGHE in Colombo, 6 July 2021:

    “WHAT a Tragedy!!”

  3. Rex Olegasegarem

    I am an admirer of Roger Federer, not only for his undoubted great achievements on the tennis court, but also for his gentlemanly attitude. What a warm tribute from Roger to his great coach, Peter Carter from down under in Barossa. The manner of Peter’s death is really tragic and sad.
    Rex Olegasegarem

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