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Tearful Federer pays tribute to former coach Peter Carter, who died tragically in 2002

Federer’s former trainer, Peter Carter, died in a car crash the year before the Swiss won his first grand slam.

AHEAD OF HIS defence of the Australian Open title, Roger Federer has paid tribute to his Australian former coach Peter Carter, who died in a car accident in 2002 while on honeymoon in South Africa.

Federer turned 37 on 8 August last year, a day before what would have been Carter’s 53rd birthday, and has discussed Carter’s influence throughout his legendary career.

In an emotional interview with CNN, the Swiss again opened up on his relationship with his former trainer, explaining that he hopes Carter would be proud of his accomplishments over the past 16 years.

“It’s actually a really nice story,” Federer began. “He came to play tennis in my old club back in Basel, at the Old Boys Tennis Club, when I was little.

“He was also one of the star players on the team. I was able to have coaching lessons with him.

“He was from Adelaide in Australia.”

Tennis - Roger Federer Practice Session and Press Conference - Brisbane Roger Federer chats with Lleyton Hewitt during a practice session at the Brisbane International in 2013. Source: DAVE HUNT

As Federer earned his stripes under Carter, a continent away, Carter’s close friend Darren Cahill — also a native of Adelaide — was busy training another future star in Lleyton Hewitt.

“They used to call each other and say, ‘I have this really special kid I’m training,’” Federer told CNN.

“And Darren would say the same from Adelaide!

And then, of course, we played each other with Lleyton when we were 14, 16, 18, 20, and then the whole career. And who knew we were both going to become Wimbledon champions, world number ones?

“So, Peter was really a really important person in my life because I think if I can say thank you for my technique today, it’s to Peter.”

Carter, however, died tragically a year before Federer won his first grand slam — Wimbledon in 2003.

Asked what his former coach might think of his record men’s haul of 20 grand slams 16 years later, the Swiss became tearful.

“Sorry,” Federer said. “Oh, man, I still miss him so much. I hope he would be proud.

“Geez, never broke down like this,” he later told CNN.

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.

“I think what I would like to say is that I’ve been incredibly fortunate to having had the right people at the right time, the right coaches at the right time.

“Sure, you could argue I made those decisions. But I also got lucky along the way.”

Federer’s full interview with CNN can be found on their website.

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