In their first meetings, Lleyton Hewitt had an advantage over the also young Roger Federer. Meeting each other for the first time at Lyon 1999, Hewitt knew how to dominate the opponent's shots and impose his game, winning seven of his first nine meetings.
In the 2003 Davis Cup semi-final, Lleyton came back from two loveless sets against Roger in Melbourne to seal the deal with Australia, and the two rivals will meet on the same court in the fourth round of the Australian Open next January.
Seeking his first notable result at the Australian Open, Federer dispatched Alex Bogomolov Jr, Jeff Morrison and Todd Reid in the first three rounds, dropping 20 games in nine sets and hoping to end Lleyton's dream of winning the Major.
From home. Following the heavy Davis Cup loss, Federer defeated the Australian 4-6 6-3 6-0 6-4 in two hours and 18 minutes to advance to his first Australian Open quarterfinal. Hitting 14 aces, Roger eliminated six of the seven break chances he had to keep his serve safe after an early setback cost him the opener.
He dominated the rest of the match to advance to the round of 16 and stay on the title trail. Hewitt had the upper hand in the first set, but that was all we saw of him as he was broken five times from the 13 chances Roger was offered.
Federer had three times as many winners as Hewitt, committing more errors but doing enough to control the pace from the second set and set up the quarter-final meeting with David Nalbandian. Roger had the upper hand in the shorter and middle exchanges, and followed Lleyton's numbers in the later rallies to seal the deal in style.
From 40-15 in the first game, Federer dropped four points in a row to break down and give Hewitt an early boost.
Clarey praises Roger Federer
In an interview with RTBF, Clarey stated that Roger Federer's overall record against Djokovic and Nadal in Grand Slams and "pure results" suggest he is not ahead of the duo.
"If we look at his time with Djokovic and Nadal as a whole, I don't think it's Roger who is ahead. In terms of statistics and pure results and head-to-heads, they're the ones leading. Djokovic leads with 27 victories against 23 for Federer, and Nadal 24 against 16," Clarey said.
"But if we start globally from the image of Roger, from all that he brought to the game and from all emotions conveyed for 20 years, it is in my opinion tighter," Clarey added.