Secrets of Roger Federer
Sure he lost in the French semi-final to Nadal this year. But how amazing was it Roger Federer was even in that semi-final? At age 37. After not playing the French for three years.
Federer first played the French in 1999, getting in on a wildcard at the age of 17. It was his first Grand Slam. He lost in the first round to Pat Rafter then ranked 3 in the world. . But he actually won the first set 7-5 before losing 6-3, 6-0, 6-2.
He wore a baseball cap turned backwards and showed flashes of temper. Aside from his obvious talent in some ways he was unrecognizable from the serene, groomed, gracious champion he became over the next 20 years.
Now here is something that is amazing about that 20 year duration. Of the 128 players in the singles draw that year in 1999, Federer is the only one still playing singles on the tour. Agassi finished that year number 1, Sampras was 3, Gustavo Kuerten was 5. Marcelo Rios was 9. Richard Krajicek was 10. Tommy Haas was 11. And Tim Henman was 12.