Gosh, it must be fun to wake up as Roger Federer. The dudes’s just going about his business, playing tennis, helping kids in South Africa, doing push-ups for Stan Wawrinka, and he discovers he ranks with Nelson Mandela as one of the most respected public figures in the world.
So says research firm the Reputation Institute in a report of findings from its survey of over 50,000 people in 25 countries around the world. People were asked to assess a list of 54 public figures on four key characteristics: “the degree to which a person is liked, respected, admired, and trusted.” Roger came in number two, behind top ranked Nelson Mandela. Bill Gates, Warren Buffet and Richard Branson filled in the top 5, with Oprah Winfrey, Angelina Jolie and the Dalai Lama trailing not too far behind. Derek Jeter was the second highest ranked athlete, at #16, and LeBron James and David Beckham scored middling results. Roger’s obviously not being judged by the company he keeps (or at least texts every once in a while): Tiger Woods is ranked 47 out of 54, sandwiched between Nicolas Sarkozy and Robert Mugabe and hovering perilously close to Kim Jong-il territory. I’m assuming Rafa wasn’t on the list – it would have been interesting to see where he ended up.
From the Reputation Institute’s press release:
“The results of Reputation Institute’s study confirm that people respect leaders that participate in philanthropic activities outside of their own celebrity. The public’s top two on our list, Mandela and Federer, have emotional ties to South Africa, and donate both time and money to the betterment of the region and its people. They get praise for their efforts,” says Reputation Institute Chairman, Dr. Charles Fombrun.
I think it’s cool that Roger Federer ranks so high amongst these iconic world leaders on the survey. At the very least, it shows the amazing degree to which Fed has served as an ambassador of our sport and an ideal representative of tennis’s traditional values of sportsmanship and grace.
This reminds me that tennis has a remarkable history and many remarkable champions. Arthur Ashe and Billie Jean King, the standard bearers of tennis’s social consciousness, are just a start. The sport’s packed with illustrious, fascinating and remarkably trail blazing gentlemen and ladies, from the impeccable Gottfried von Cramm to the infectious Indo-Pak Express duo of Bopanna and Qureshi.
I’m wondering, who are some of your personal tennis heroes?
*And thanks to GTT hero, Judy, for passing along the story!