Photo by Krist at rogerfederer.com
Federer Fan (and self-diagnosed “Rogerholic”), Kathy Woodward contributed this piece on the now-famous “Genius at Work” banner that follows her man around the world. Enjoy!
An Ingenious Idea
by Kathy Woodward
“Shhh!!! Quiet! Genius at Work”, has requested hush and silence over Federer matches for four years now. The slogan was inspired by a 2006 article from the San Diego Tribune written after the Swiss superstar won the Pacific Life Open in 2006. Inspired Fed fans made plans to attend the Sony Ericsson Open the following week that year and thought making a banner to commemorate the trip would be a fun way to support Roger. The banner was quickly made with red fabric and white tape for the lettering into the now famous slogan. After the Miami tournament, the rogerfederer.com member who came up with the ingenious idea thought to send it along to the next tournament in Rome to support Roger again. Fans could sign it from tournament to tournament, following Federer on the ATP tour. The response on Federer’s official web site was overwhelming. So after debuting at the Sony Ericsson Open in 2006, the banner made its maiden trip overseas and was mailed to a fan in Rome like a cloth version of the Olympic torch. The rest was history.
After a year of worldwide travel by post or stowed in luggage the banner was presented to Roger in Miami in 2007. A new second version, made of hemmed fabric and hand painted lettering, was then sent off to Rome that year with Roger’s signature in the white cross. The care and responsibility fans have taken for the banner’s well being is truly remarkable. Being the ‘banner carrier’ is a very special and moving experience. You are responsible for an icon of tennis history. I know first hand as I carried it to Indian Wells and Cincinnati last year. Waving it during the Federer/Hewitt match in Cincinnati was beyond my expectations. After the match, the genius himself hit a ball with Swiss precision straight to us in the upper deck of the stadium. We were shocked but not surprised! Full of fan signatures, the second banner was retired at the end of last season after the World Tour Finals in London. It will also be given to Roger like the first. The newest third version debuted in Melbourne in January, cheering the genius to his 16th Grand Slam title.
The Genius Banner’s story is so endearing it was chronicled for Roger in a scrapbook for his enjoyment for years to come. The complete account of its travels in photos, fan accounts, songs, even ‘The Genius Banner Oath‘ was compiled over 5 months with contributions from fans from around the world. As long as the genius that is Roger Federer is at work his famous banner will circle the globe with him until he retires.
Genius Banner Stats
- The banner has waved in 16 cities and 11 countries several times around the world
- It’s attended 12 Grand Slams and 8 of the 9 ATP Masters 1000 series tournaments several times over
- It traveled 72,843 kilometers around the globe in 2009 alone
- The second banner (April 2007- November 2009) was signed by 286 fans
- It’s inspired fans to create more banners declaring Roger: “peRFect”, “Sandtastic” and “Betterer than Chocolate!!!”, to name a few
- The banner has been seen on TV, in print media and mentioned to Federer in press conferences (Australia and Shanghai 2007)
Thanks to my fellow fan friend, Colleen Taylor for both making the second and third “Genius” banners and for helping provide info for the piece.
Kathy and her fellow Federer fans got their wish at Indian Wells this year! Roger Federer joined them for photos before accepting the now-retired second banner for his growing collection:
Here are some more photos of the various Genius banners that have followed Roger Federer from tournament to tournament.
Some of those 286 fans:
The Miami 2007 banner presentation of the first version, photo by Leslie Martino:
The original banner at the Australian Open:
Big thanks to Kathy and all the Federer Fans who provided photos for her piece!