Roger Federer fans make sure 'genius' sign travels the globe

Tennis fans have been in awe of what Roger Federer has accomplished over the years on the court, but off the court there’s a special banner that travels with him to several tournaments every year.

The “Genius Banner” as it’s known, which states “Shhh!! QUIET! GENIUS AT WORK” is often seen waving or hanging in the audience during Federer’s matches.

The banner’s origin is right here at Indian Wells.

The red banner was initially created by a group of loyal Federer fans who came up with the slogan from something they read in the newspaper after he won his third consecutive tournament at Indian Wells. After discussing it in a fan forum at, a group of four women decided to make a banner and bring it to Miami the following week. It’s taken off since.

Now whenever Federer plays an important match anywhere on the globe, someone in the network of Federer fans is tasked with the job of bringing the banner. An inner circle of about 15 reliable fans take care of the flag throughout the year.

In Indian Wells, that person is Kathy Woodward.

“Roger really appreciates it. He looks for the banner in the stadium and it shows the dedication fans have for him. We’re hoping it’ll go to the Tennis Hall of Fame or if he has a museum one day that would be a wonderful spot for the banners,” said Woodward, a freelance writer from Pasadena, who was waving the banner Wednesday from the upper bleachers of the Main Stadium as Federer beat Tommy Haas 6-4, 6-4.

Once the BNP Paribas Open ends, it’s Woodward’s responsibility to ship it to France, to a designated Federer fan there who will bring it to the French Open. When the ATP returns to Cincinnati, it will be Woodward’s duty again to wave the banner in Ohio.

Avid Federer fans know the story of the banner as evidenced by what happened to Woodward on Monday.

“Earlier in the week this guy jumped over the row next to me and said ‘Oh my god, oh my god, my dream is to get a picture with this banner. I see it on TV, I looked for it all the time. Can I please get a photo?’ ” she said. “I was shocked but so happy. I’m happy fans look for it and are accustomed to seeing it. It’s becoming a signature for Roger’s matches.”

After a year of worldwide travel, the first banner was presented to Federer in Miami in 2007.
A new second version, made of hemmed fabric and hand painted lettering, was then sent off to Rome with Roger’s signature in the white cross. Full of signatures, the second banner was retired at the end of 2009 after the World Championships. Woodward gave Federer the flag in Indian Wells in 2010.

The third banner debuted at the Australian Open in 2010, where Federer won his 16th Grand Slam title. That one was presented to Federer in 2012, the same year the fourth and current banner made its debut.

Woodward hopes the fourth banner lasts until Federer retires.

The banners have traveled more than 17,000 kilometers which includes 16 cities and nine countries. The banner is not allowed at Wimbledon and the U.S. Open due to its size. However one time the banner was snuck in to Arthur Ashe Stadium in New York after the banner carrier wrapped it around her waist and waived it after Federer had won a match. Some notables who have signed the banner include Federer’s wife Mirka, Tony Roche and Rod Laver.

Woodward said she’s thankful the banner hasn’t been lost over the years. However they had a scare in 2012 when the banner was stuck in Italian customs for four months and they wanted 300 euros to get it out. Eventually, the banner was recovered but Woodward said jokingly that they won’t send it to Italy again.

Date: 14th March 2014, Source:


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