Roger Federer was the dominant figure in men's tennis between 2004 and 2007, winning an incredible 42 ATP titles and losing 24 matches! The Swiss couldn't keep up the same pace in 2008, pushed to the limit by the new generation led by Rafael Nadal, Novak Djokovic and Andy Murray.
Novak dethroned Roger at the Australian Open and Andy did the same in Dubai a month later. Murray defeated Federer 6-7, 6-3, 6-4 in an hour and 55 minutes in a rare first-round meeting between two top 11 players! Dubai put together a powerful field that year, and Andy failed to make the top seeds despite being on the verge of the top 10!
It was his third meeting and the second victory for the 20-year-old Briton, who never faced a break chance in the entire encounter, sticking to his plan and outplaying the Swiss in the crucial moments. Federer fought well in the first set and came back from 5-2 down in the tie break.
However, he couldn't keep up with his rival in the next two, losing a serve in each to give him the exit door of one of his favorite tournaments, where he won four titles in the last five years. . Andy served only 55%, but he defended his second serve very well and got 48 out of 53 points after landing the first serve!
The youngster outscored Roger in the shorter and medium rallies, while the Swiss held a slight advantage in the longer rallies, although in theory it should have been the other way around. It also marked Federer's earliest loss since Indian Wells 2007, and he wasn't happy about it, especially Andy's defensive style of play.
They needed just over 25 minutes to complete the first ten games, with excellent hitting on both sides and no chances for returners.
Federer's ATP ranking has dropped to 30
In a recent interview at Maharashtra Open 2022, World No.
14 Aslan Karatsev revealed that Roger Federer is his idol. He also claimed that the 40-year-old's gameplay and movement on the court is on "another level." "I would go with Roger Federer. Because he showed fantastic tennis even in this age.
I was practicing with him a couple of times. Still, the way how he plays, how he feels the ball, and how he moves is something another level," said Karatsev. In an interview last year, the Russian described Federer as his "childhood idol" and said he hoped to face him on the court some day.
"His game is unique. He was my childhood idol. The way Roger stays fit is amazing. I do not know how he is able to do it. He is 40 and still moves very well! I would like to face him," stated the Russian back then.