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Pillars of Roger’s Career: Seventeen-year old Roger; Lleyton; and Rafter 6

Posted on February 10, 2010 by Claudia Celestial Girl

Federer, with his coach the late Peter Carter, was just beginning his rise to the top in 1999.

Federer, with his coach the late Peter Carter, was just beginning his rise to the top in 1999.

We are going to start a series of articles that outline the stand-out matches of Roger Federer’s career.  The impetus of this series was a discussion of the Greatest Matches of the Decade – in which Roger was not mentioned very often.  We thought that perhaps it was time to review some of the stand-outs.  This article is the first of a series.

For this article I had to purchase the old match from 1999, and I must say, first I have to get a simple fan reaction out of the way.  After all, these are three of the best looking men to ever step on a tennis court!


OMG!  There’s Pat Rafter!  In his heyday!  There’s Lleyton Hewitt!  Always one of my favorites.  And there’s Roger Federer!  He’s just a lad!  It’s Rafter with the ponytail and Lleyton with a backwards baseball cap on. He was with the ponytail too. And Roger just has short hair (the Rafteresque ponytail would come later – see match with Sampras at Wimbledon in 2001.)

Roger’s neck is pencil thin.  His face isn’t filled out.  How cute he looks!

But the signs are there nonetheless.  There is it right in the middle of the second set: a breathtaking backhand.  The single-fisted backhand. Roger swings it for a lob that lands exactly in the corner. Perfect placement!   How often would we see that again later!

Rafter, at 27  years of age, is in his prime.  Rafter/Bjorkman are favored to win the match, and the commentators discuss how strange for the experienced pair to let youthful Hewitt and Federer get a set and a break on them, and take the first set to a tie-break.

Shortly after this Wimbledon appearance, Pat Rafter would be ranked #1 in the world (though he lost the singles’ semi-finals to Agassi).  And that year, the pair of Rafter and Bjorkman had won the doubles titles at the Australian Open, Indian Wells, and Roger’s Cup. Read the rest of this entry →

  • Vintage Athlete of the Month

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