This is embarrassing. I can't believe I never post here before.
I first saw Roger in the 2001 Wimbledon match with Pete. I loved Rafter because of his style of play and I so wanted him to win. I have big soft spot for late bloomers and players who are great singles and doubles players which is why I like Rafter and Kafelnikov the most in the 90s. I was watching the match and saw Roger and thought he looked really cool. He was playing a smooth effective style and I thought he looked like a Ninja out there apart from the pooka shell necklace which added a childish charm to him that I found endearing. I was so happy once he beat Pete. I yelled out " Yes Rafter can win the title now". We all know how that turned out.
I never forgot about Federer and when he played Agassi in the USO 4th rd after missing the whole hardcourt summer due to a groin injury; I was hoping for him to win and Rafter to win so they play each other in the qrts. They both lost but Roger played some cool points in his match that he wasn't seriously into including a great BH volley that he just pranced and danced up to. The crowd made huge "WHEW" remark after he won the point. He also wore all green for the one set (3rd) I think which was cool because he looked like a dragon with that color and his playing style.
My one tennis pal from LA in the fall that year sent me DC match of Roger pounding Jan Michael Gambil from earlier in the year and I watched it over and over again. He was so cool to watch. I followed him ever since and always argued with her and her pals that Roger will pass Hewitt because he is the greatest talent and he cares plus he works very hard. They didn't believe me for a long time but they came around.