Competing at the Monte Carlo Masters 1000 for the sixth time in 2006, Roger Federer achieved his best result in the Principality, advancing to the first of three consecutive finals. A year earlier, Richard Gasquet beat the Swiss in the tie break of the deciding set of the quarterfinals.
Roger came back stronger 12 months later and beat the next star, Novak Djokovic, in the first round. The Swiss only gave up six games against Alberto Martin and Benjamin Balleret to find himself in the quarterfinals. It took Federer an hour to unseat world number 15 David Ferrer and set up the semi-final clash against Fernando Gonzalez.
It was his sixth meeting, the fourth on clay, and Roger prevailed by a dominant 6-2 and 6-4 in 69 minutes to remain undefeated against the Chilean. Thus, he advanced to the first Monte Carlo final and faced Rafael Nadal. As in the previous three meetings, Federer had the upper hand from start to finish.
He defended all three break chances and mounted the pressure on the other side. González lost 42% of the points in his games and suffered three breaks from the Swiss's six chances to propel the rival to the title match.
They had a similar number of errors, and Federer dominated the winners' segment, hitting 20 direct points and holding Gonzalez to seven.
Clarey comments on Federer's attitude
Roger Federer is one of the greatest players of all time.
He is revered for his exploits on the court and the way he has conducted himself off the court. "I don't presume to know how he developed personally. I'm not his friend, not a family member. An interview is an interview. Here he is very pleasant, very open.
He hasn't changed at all in certain areas - even if he has become a billionaire in the meantime (laughs). He always asks questions. My first conversation in 2001 was less of an interview and more of a conversation. And in 2019, the last time I spoke to him, it was the same," Clarey said.
According to the writer, the Swiss is more grounded and humble when it comes to private interactions. "What has changed is of course his knowledge, in general, but also about tennis history. His sense of humor is also often underestimated, he always cracks a joke and likes to laugh.
In conversation, he doesn't come across as elegant as in advertising, more like a normal person. He's a warm guy," he added.
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