In a column published on Telegraph, Greg Rusedski revealed an interesting anecdote about the 19-time Grand Slam Champion Roger Federer. The former world no. 4 and 1997 US Open semi-finalist met the Swiss for the first time in the Hamburg event on clay almost 20 years ago. Federer was already playing an impressive tennis, but Rusedski didn't really notice it instead of his coach Sven Groeneveld. 'I was ranked no. 5 in the world, and he was beating me all over the court,' Rusedski wrote. 'I was thinking “I am playing terrible tennis, I’m going to have a terrible week in Hamburg.” But then Sven said: “This kid will be one of the great players one day, a giant of the game.” I was like, “Yeah, come off it”.
Rusedski wasn't particularly interested at Federer that time because he was already a high level and so had a very big ego. But looking back at it, it was clear a new champion was born: 'The thing about Roger was that he had a complete game, with nothing really overpowering. When you played against Pete Sampras, you sometimes felt like you were just changing ends. You had to guess which way the serve was going to go. Roger, by contrast, would not blow you off the court. You would feel, “Hey, I’ve got a shot here.” And then he would beat you anyway. Everything was clean, technically sound, and he moved uncannily well.'
Rusedski ended his article on a pretty good note, making an interesting comparison: 'Like a big kid, Roger just loves what he does, and it doesn’t seem that there is going to be an end to it. He feels like a Peter Pan character who will simply go on forever.'
The former British player faced Federer five times in his career, and he only won at 1999 Vienna. He was beaten in straight sets in all the other four meetings.