'It was just great to hit three weeks with Roger Federer', says ATP star



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'It was just great to hit three weeks with Roger Federer', says ATP star

Roger Federer, 16, played his first ATP match in Gstaad in July 1998, just days after winning junior Wimbledon. Thirteen and a half years and 16 major titles later, the Swiss maestro added his 1,000th ATP match on January 24, 2012, against Juan Martin del Potro in the Australian Open quarterfinals.

Roger became the 11th player in the Open Era with 1,000 ATP matches and celebrated the milestone in style following a dominant 6-4, 6-3, 6-2 triumph over the Argentine in one hour and 59 minutes. Federer secured ATP win number 814 (186 losses) after breaking once in six chances offered to del Potro.

The Swiss took 45% of the return points and converted them in five breaks from eight chances, playing better and better as the encounter went on to set up the semi-final clash against Rafael Nadal. Federer lost just five points behind the first serve and played well when it mattered most to increase the pressure on the other side.

Juan Martin was unable to deliver similar numbers behind the serve, losing 44% of points and struggling on the first and second serves to break five times in eight chances offered to Roger. The Swiss held at 15 in the first game with a service winner and advanced in the second when the Argentine missed an easy spike.

A forehand volley winner pushed Federer 3-0 after nine minutes. He wasted an opportunity to increase his lead before Juan Martin fell back in game seven to cut the deficit. Roger held at 15 in game nine with a beautiful lob, and the set was in his hands after a break at 15 a few minutes later when Juan Martin double faulted.

A backhand down the line in game four of the second set pushed Federer forward, and he saved break points at 5-3 to close out the set with a service winner and build a big lead.

Federer has not played since Wimbledon 2021

When Roger Federer was finding his feet on the claycourts in Geneva last year, his teenage compatriot, Dominic Stricker, was making headlines at the same venue.

Stricker, 18 years old at the time, reached the quarterfinals of his home tournament in his maiden ATP main-draw appearance. "It was just great to hit two, three weeks with him. He's one of the greatest, if not the greatest, in this sport.

You learn a lot," Stricker said. "He told me to work a lot on my serve, which I did. Even today, maybe it was not my best service game of … the last few months but I think it helped me in important situations and I'm happy that he told me that.

I practise sometimes with Stan (too), just a few days. Sometimes he invites me to go there. It's also amazing to hit with him. Both of them, it's great to have them in the same country, " he added.