After two incredible seasons in 2004 and 2005 that put him above all other Tour players, Roger Federer raised his bar even further in 2006 to add 92 wins in 97 games and lift 12 titles. Federer claimed 13 more points than the opponent, although that wasn't enough to get him to the top earlier, with a break for each player in the first two sets before that exciting decider that went all the way.
Takao was willing to give up 200% against the powerful rival at the Ariake Colosseum in Tokyo. He broke Roger in the third game and closed the first set with his serve at 5-4, dominating with his serve and backhand to get closer to the best victory of his career.
With no room for mistakes, Roger broke at 5-5 in the second set and secured it with his serve in the next while waiting for a more relaxed decider. Instead, Suzuki pushed the world number one to the limit to reach a tiebreaker before losing it 7-3 to send Federer to the top and miss a chance to stun the entire tennis world.
"There is always the fear of losing when you are at a disadvantage. It is a normal feeling, but you try to think of ways to get back to the front. It was a close match for both players, and we both kept serving comfortably."
Clarey reflects on Roger Federer
He has reported on the life and career of Roger Federer for two decades and now respected writer Christopher Clarey has released a book that shines a light on the most popular player in tennis history.
"The access I have had over the years has been pretty exceptional thanks to the New York Times and the Herald Tribune and I wanted to get it all down there while it was still fresh in my mind. I really wanted to do a book that looked at Federer’s career while also keeping that journalistic distance and hopefully what I have come up with works well.
I have structured it in a way that allows all the global connections he has with the world to come through and while it is structured in a chronological way, I wanted to get into his process of how he handles his day to day and how he has grown as a person" - Clarey explained.
"He really grasped early on that he needed to have a good connection with those who reported on him. You can see that he has that with the Swiss press who have followed him throughout his career and they have a good human connection with him.
For me, he has always been very good to deal with and when he sits down with the media, he does the job properly."