An interview with a Swiss regional paper. Roger remembers the name of every opponent in a Chellenger tournament played ten years ago!
At the end of the article is a nice account of how they finally get the interview. "Hello, here is Roger." - the man is so sweet.
Exclusive. Federer gives the Telegram
December 28, 2009
The No. 1 world tennis has granted an exclusive interview at the Telegram. Regarded by many as the best tennis player of all time, Roger Federer preparing to attack a new season with the status of No. 1 worldwide. Ten years ago, the Swiss opened their fabulous track record in Britain by winning the Challenger tournament in Brest.
"Federer is great!" In its issue of 1 November 1999, is the title The Telegram had chosen to welcome the victory of a young Swiss in the 12th edition of International Bretagne in Brest. A player still unknown to the general public, even if Roger Federer had landed at the tip of Finistère haloed status of junior world champion. "We knew it was good. Everyone knew, "said Francois Derrien, tournament director Brest. "But we had not made a special effort to bring him home." Understood, there was no need to leave the checkbook so that knocks the ball on the courts Penfeld.
"This guy was different than others'
Because at the time, the native of Basel occupied "only" the 67th largest in the world. What was nonetheless already exceptional for a boy aged just 18 years, professionally for a year and a half. Yet he is a player in the charts still virgin as significant in the elderly (1) who had started the tournament in Brest, a Challenger (equivalent to second division) very well endowed (100.000dollars plus accommodation). "In terms of level, was one of the most world records in his category," says Rodolphe Gilbert, unfortunate opponent Federer in the second round. "I knew a little. And as he spoke French, it was easier, "says the Rennais before unburden himself on the game of the current World No. 1:" Even then, we saw that this guy was not same as the others. He came to blows? Ouf? (crazy). It did not happen often feel that way against an opponent. "No wonder, then, that Switzerland has finally managed to unlock the meter at the end of 1999 season.
"He was too strong '
He might have done earlier without the nervousness in his youth, has sometimes served. "He had a casual attitude and a tendency to get excited quickly. He was still in a learning phase, "said Lionel Roux, now coach of France's Davis Cup. "I especially remember a very pleasant person," says François Derrien. "He said he was very nervous. But for us, it was not seen. "It is true that Federer, seeded No. 1 in Brest, had not really had any reason to get out of its hinges. With one set conceded, the Swiss had flown up to the tournament won the final against Max Mirnyi. And despite the bronchitis which had disturbed during his week Brest. "It was too much for me today," recognized the Belarusian giant, beaten 7-6, 6-3.
€ 9650 victory in Brest
"It reminds me of Sampras. Tennis seems so simple when you see him play ...», had said, meanwhile, Francois Derrien who had delivered a check 14.400dollars (approximately € 9650) in Swiss player after his final victory. If we add to its earnings double (630dollars or approximately 422 €), Federer had therefore left Brest with just over € 10,000 in his pocket. And with the satisfaction of having won the first (and only) Challenger career. Behind him he had to wait over a year before raising a new trophy. It was in Milan, in January 2001. Since 61titres have enriched his huge winners.
1. End 98, Federer has won two tournaments Satellite (small national tournaments) at home in Switzerland.
Interview. "Brest, a very big moment"
Ten years later, Roger Federer has forgotten nothing (or almost) on his victory in Brest. In the exclusive interview he has granted, he returned to the title that was marked before being projected onto the rest of his career.
- Roger Federer, a decade ago, you win the Challenger tournament in Brest. You remember?
"Yes, anyway. It is the only Challenger that I won in my career. I remember it was late in the season. I started the year around the world 300 and I finished in 100. It was a great year. I remember it was a very well organized Challenger. It was nice to have played. "
- Do you remember who you beat?
"Yes, there was Lionel Roux, Michaël Llodra, Max Mirnyi, Martin Damm. Uh, here. It must remain another, but I do not remember. "
- Rudolph ...
"Rodolphe Gilbert, ah yes it's true."
- Only one of them had managed to make you a set. Who was it?
(long pause). "Maybe it was Lionel Roux, right?"
- Yes, that's it. Bravo.
"Thank you (laughs)."
- What is the value that title for you today?
"I think it's more important to me than the media for example. The media, unfortunately, they forget quickly, especially with all the success I had after. But anyway, he had to start by playing small tournaments, although Brest was a great challenger. At the time, when you win, it's a great moment that you keep forever. It's almost at the beginning of your career that you saw things more dramatic, because you want so much to do, so you want to enter the Top 100, you want to show who you are, how well you can play tennis ... So for a young player, winning a Challenger as it is super important. "
- Do you ever happen to talk again about this victory in Brest with your friends?
"Well, now rare. In my environment, everybody knows my way. I will not talk about it all their days. It focuses instead on the future. But sometimes, I spoke with some players who do not know that I won in Brest. They tell me? Ah yes, there are more now, but it's true that before there was a great tournament there.? "
- Do you remember your doubles partner in Brest?
(without hesitation) "Yes, Guillaume Raoux. I remember it was one of the best partners I ever had before. So, I was almost disappointed to have lost the second round. "
- On reading the press clippings of the time, we also learn that you had been a little sick during the week. You had bronchitis ... That you are reminded of that too?
"Uh, a little less. It must be early in the tournament, because at the end, I was in shape. Mirnyi cons, I remember that I achieved a perfect performance against a very dangerous player indoor (indoor). I remember it was Halloween week Brest. We had masks. It was a little afraid to everyone still making jokes! "
- Did you keep the trophy?
"Yes, it is still home to my parents."
- In Switzerland?
"This is exactly".
- At the time, you were already 67th world but you have not yet gained significant tournament. It began to annoy you or not?
"No, not really. I would have liked to win an ATP tournament already ninety-nine (1999). This year, I participated in major tournaments and I managed to make the quarterfinals and semifinals. So I was quite pleased. But it would still have been disappointing to have never won a Challenger. In Future (the equivalent of third division), I also played three times and lost three times in qualifying ... (laughs). "
- It was a period during which you were accompanied by Peter Carter (1) ...
"Yes, he was there. I also went to greet him after that first title. I am seldom or never actually thank my coach after a victory. I do not climb into the stands to embrace my surroundings. But in Brest, I quickly ran to him. I shook his hand as the first title was still something special. I wanted to show a little. I knew since I was ten. It was a long way together. It was nice for us both. "
- After the final, you said:? Do not set goals too high.? It was a way to protect yourself, or you really imagine that this would be very difficult to reach the summit?
"Well, in ninety-nine, I was the youngest in the Top 100 at 18 years and some months. I have still a little early. Nine or ten months before Brest, I beat Carlos Moya in Marseille. It was 4th World and two months later he became No. 1 worldwide. So I knew I could beat the best and that I could aim high. But I saw immediately that the press liked me put pressure because many experts said that I had an extraordinary talent and I was the future No. 1 worldwide. I always found it too much? Fair? (cool). I always tried to calm things down because I saw how difficult it was to win tournaments or to dominate a sport. But it is true that after having finished No. 1 in the world juniors in ninety-eight (1998), my dream was to become world No 1 and win Wimbledon. "
- Ten years have passed since Brest. Will you still short in ten years?
"I do not know. A lot depends on how my body will handle the games, travel. The way my mind will handle everything. But the urge to play as long as possible is there. In ten years, I have 38 years. Honestly, this is not something super impossible. For me, the second half just started. And I do not know when it will end. "
- If you could fulfill a dream, what would it be? Making the Grand Slam, winning the Davis Cup, the Olympics in 2012, beating Nadal in the final at Roland Garros?
"What makes me most happy is when I play good tennis when I feast on the field and off. Traveling with my family now, it's great fun. It gave me extra motivation. For ten years I tried several times to win the Davis Cup. I try again in a day is clear. At the Olympics, I already had a gold medal in doubles. It makes me quite enough. But it's clear that I will try to be fit for London in 2012. In fact, I have the greatest possible success. But I am glad the most is to play against all these young people who go up and see how long I can be successful against them. "
- How do you imagine the 2010 season?
"I think it will be very interesting, with many players of character to fight, such as the French Monfils has played really well at Bercy, Tsonga or who just missed his spot in the Masters. I, of course, I will focus on major events. If I am physically fit, I will not fear. I'll be able to play very well. "
1. At that time, Australian Peter Carter was the coach of Roger Federer. He died accidentally in 2002 during a safari. A tragic death had greatly affected the Swiss player.
"It was still a boy, a big déconneur"
Opponents, doubles partner, director of tournament players Challenger Brest in 1999 opened their box and evoke memories that had marked with Roger Federer.
Francois Derrien (tournament director): "It was very nice, it made no problem. He was discreet and did not at all the big head. He was adored among physiotherapists. He was staying at the Hotel Oceania, like everyone else. I remember the ease with which he played. It was a flexible, highly nimble air. We saw some good players in Brest. Guys like Leconte, Pioline, Santoro, Kucera ... But Federer is the best we've seen. And by far. I saw him once. It was at Roland Garros. It has just welcomed. "
Lionel Roux (beaten by Federer in the first round): "I do not remember too much of the game, but I know I lost 6-4 in the third. Everyone spoke. He said it was the future No. 1 worldwide. When I played in Brest, I do not really know. At that time, this was not the same man. It was still a boy, a big déconneur always ready to do something stupid. He had that side deadpan laugh. I remember that I had room after my win in doubles with? Rod? (Rodolphe Gilbert). "
Rodolphe Gilbert (beaten by Federer in the second round): "There are five months, I talked with him. He remembered well his victory against me in Brest, but also that the Tournament of Grenoble six months earlier. In Brest, there were 6-4, 6-4, right? Oh, 6-4, 6-3. OK. But with Lionel Roux, he was beaten twice. I remember that his side was far worse than now. He chop almost all the time. His service was already unreadable. It was something we had not. Sometimes, for ten minutes, quarter of an hour he was hallucinating sequences. Physically, he has greatly expanded from the top. Otherwise, it has not changed. At the time he was already very respectful vis-à-vis its opponents. "
Michael Llodra (beaten by Federer in the quarterfinals): "Oh, he had won this year in Brest? I do not know. I do not remember any of our game. I just remember the score, 6-4, 6-4 to him (in fact, there were 6-3, 6-3 ...). It's the only time I've faced. But I do not despair of the replay a day. "
Guillaume Raoux (his partner for doubles): "I played doubles with him in Brest? Are you sure? Well, you teach me. Sorry, but I have no recollection. I'm not very good memory for tennis tournaments I played. "
"Hello, here is Roger"
Roger Federer wins his first title at the pros in Brest decade ago. What a godsend for us, the sports journalists Telegram. Here's a story of gold!
We are thus left to the fishing stories. Hoping to bring the evidence. That of Switzerland. But this was not won. "This is one of the players most inaccessible of the circuit," wrote L'Equipe Magazine in late August, in an article devoted to his wife, Mirka Vavrinek. So you can imagine: see master of the tennis world give an interview to a regional newspaper ... Anyway, we still attempted the coup. You never know, on a misunderstanding ... First approach in July after his victory at Wimbledon. And a polite refusal, by mail, the cell responsible for its management: "Roger receives so many requests from around the world ..." Undeterred, they returned to office in early October. With his agent this time. Who plays dead for ten days. Before responding. And then, surprise, "Roger said he would do a 5 minutes interview with you at Paris-Bercy after one of his first matches' (Roger said he will give you five minutes after interviewing one of his first matches at Bercy ). Yes! Except at Bercy, there were no matches first. There was a first game, concluded by an improbable defeat against the French Benneteau. Only the fifth time in six years that Switzerland was beaten when it comes into contention in a tournament. And at 23 am 15 by the bargain. The bad luck. For a few minutes later, Federer to face a rainy day that left the scene hurriedly with his wife and coach in his wake. In inviting us to the door of his car, to do with his press secretary for a contact telephone in the coming days. Mouais ... Three weeks later, despite repeated reminders by mail, it had ended up being a reason. Until Saturday afternoon in early December and a number "bizarre" that appears on our laptop. "Hello, here is Roger." For a moment it was thought a hoax. But no, it was Federer who, on vacation, took 20 minutes to remember his victory in Brest. Beginning by apologizing for being late to call us! That must be what the great class ...