Scene: Swiss Indoors Championship final
Year: 1993 Little could have Michael Stich, the 1993 Swiss Indoors champion, imagined that the ball boy to whom he handed over the medal would grow up to become the greatest ever tennis player in the forthcoming years.
The final was played between 1991 Wimbledon Champion Michael Stich and 7-time Grand Slam winner Stefan Edberg. Stich outwitted Edberg -- 6–4, 6–7, 6–3, 6–2, to clinch his first and only title in Basel.
In a customary gesture, the champion handed over medals to the ball boys and ball girls, and among them was a 12-year-old Federer, who would later go on to win a record six titles in the same event. (Go to 5.56 of the video) Incidentally, the runner-up, Stefan Edberg, will later become Federer’s coach.
Federer’s ancestral home was close to where the tournament is held. Besides, his mother Lynette, an avid tennis enthusiast, used to be associated with the tournament, working in the credential office. Four years following his stint as a ball boy, Federer made his first ever appearance as a player in Basel in 1998.
Interestingly, it took another eight years for the 'ball boy of Basel' to break his jinx in his hometown. Read more on Roger Federer and the Curious Case of the ´Basel Curse´ There is another famous photo of a young Federer as ball boy, posing with Jimmy Connors in Basel, taken in the year 1994.