On September 22, 1997, the 16-year-old Roger Federer made the first appearance on the ATP ranking list. Namely, the young Swiss scored 12 points at Switzerland 1 Masters Satellites in Bossonnens and found himself ranked 803rd.
In 1996, still at 15, Roger had tried to qualify for two Satellites at home with no success. A teenager lost in the qualifying round of the ATP event in Gstaad in July 1997 before entering those Bossonnens events, his first professional tournaments in the main draw.
In four events played on outdoor clay, Roger made two semi-finals, losing them against the 2nd seed Daniele Balducci and the 1st seed Agustin Garizzio. The youngster lost in the quarter-final versus Yves Allegro, with whom he later played in many ATP doubles events, including the 2004 Olympics in Athens, and won the Vienna title in 2003.
Overall, Roger scored eight wins during that month in Bossonnens, finishing the 1997 season ranked 704th (the second-youngest player in the top-1000 after Feliciano Lopez) after one qualifying round triumph at the home event in Basel and three more at Switzerland 2 Masters.
Making substantial progress through the ATP ranking list, Roger entered the top-100 two years later and the top-20 in February 2001. The Swiss cracked the top-10 in May 2002 following the first Masters 1000 title in Hamburg, becoming one of the world's leading players and missing a chance of becoming world no.
1 in the summer of 2003 at three events. That was inevitable, though, as Roger conquered the ATP throne after winning the second Major crown at the Australian Open 2004, kicking off an incredible streak of 237 consecutive weeks as world no.
Roger Federer made an ATP ranking debut on September 22, 1997.
The rest is pretty much history, with Federer breaking one ranking record after another, accumulating 310 weeks as world no. 1 and standing there for the last time in 2018 at 36.
Roger is the owner of the most weeks in the top-5 and top-10, staying competitive for two decades and still standing in the top-10, 24 years after his first appearance on the ranking list! After a rock-solid 2019 season, Roger played only one tournament in 2020, advancing into the Australian Open's semi-final and losing to Novak Djokovic in straight sets before experiencing a knee injury.
A year and a half later, Roger is yet to fully recover and play injury-free, entering 13 matches this year between March and July and undergoing the third surgery ahead of his comeback in 2022. At 40 years and one month, Roger stands as the second-oldest top-10 player since 1973 after Ken Rosewall, although he would not finish the season in the elite group.